Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

20th Street paving plan draws council’s interest

September 27, 2007

A couple living in rural Eudora are willing to pave parts of 20th Street and Winchester Road with chip-and-seal asphalt.

The Eudora City Council agreed Monday to let city engineering consultant Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants draw up possible scenarios with Douglas County engineers for the project.

The discussion came as Douglas County engineer Keith Browning approached the council members to gauge their opinion on an offer made by Brad and Dawn Fire and to see if the city would be willing to help pay for improvements.

The Fires approached the county in June with an offer to spend their own money and be part of a benefit district to pave Winchester Road to 20th Street from their driveway, which is about a half mile south of 20th Street. The project's original scope also included paving to the end of the current chip-and-seal asphalt on 20th street about a quarter-mile east of Winchester Road. Browning originally estimated the improvements to cost $400,000.

The project also could expand north of 20th Street on Winchester Road to Kansas Highway 10.

"I said 'Before we go too far in that, let's go talk to the (Douglas County) Commission,'" Browning said. "I told them, 'Believe it or not, even if you are willing to pay, the commission may or may not be willing to do it because of the maintenance.'"

The commission agreed to look into the project if the Eudora Township Board of Trustees signed an agreement to give the county assessments for roads from properties next to the road.

The reason is that the county would be maintaining the road, Browning said.

The township board asked for the current assessments before making a decision, Browning said.

"I don't think the assessments at this time are going to be very much," Browning said.

The city had earlier discussed the possibility of tearing up the chip-and-seal on 20th street because of damage caused by heavy truck traffic.

Because of the Fires' offer, the council decided to delay the decision to gather more information.

Browning told the council he was looking for general direction.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty expressed doubts chip-and-seal paving would hold up under the truck traffic that travels the road.

Council members also have seen issues with the pavement currently on 20th Street.

"We've seen 20th Street just disintegrate," Council member Lori Fritzel said.

Also, the location of 20th Street might have to be adjusted because it runs to the north of the established right-of-way, Beatty said.

Council member Jeff Peterson said he was interested in looking more into the project.

"It seems like it's going to be an important road," Peterson said.

The city wouldn't have any money available to pay for road improvements for several years, Beatty said.

That means any funds for road improvements would have to be bonded out, she said.

During discussion, Eudora Township Board Treasurer Glenn Grosdidier asked if the city had any timeline for annexing property south and west of town.

Beatty said the city doesn't have any plan to force annexation in the area, because it would be expensive to bring in utilities.
But if 51 percent of citizens in the area ask the city to annex the land, the process could be done much sooner, Beatty said.

Following discussion, the council unanimously directed Kingsley to work with the county to draft more accurate costs and options for the project.

"That's what I'd like to see, options," Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said.

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