Archive for Thursday, December 4, 2008

KDOT cuts could affect future projects

December 4, 2008

A KDOT announcement that all December and January projects will be suspended has City Administrator Cheryl Beatty worried that funding will not be available for projects in Eudora during the next two years.

“We are operating in a time of extreme financial uncertainty, and it would be irresponsible for us to begin work on projects without knowing whether we will be able to pay for them,” Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller said in a Nov. 12 press release.

The move is because of funding uncertainties at both the state and federal levels.

Beatty is worried that Eudora will see “a trickle-down effect” because of the lack of state and federal funding. She said it could take about two years to recover from such an occurrence.

While the announcement underlined the importance of construction projects that had been done throughout Eudora this last summer, it put in doubt two future projects.

Foremost in Beatty’s mind is work connected to the Interstate 70 interchange at Tonganoxie, which could potentially bring commuters through Eudora via Main Street, which is just two lanes wide.

“If we don’t have funding, then we’re going to see a whole lot of traffic right away without any support from KDOT,” Beatty said. “And that is a year off, which is not that far away.”

She also is concerned about the condition of Eudora’s bridges. On Nov. 13, the city council approved a study of four bridges in Eudora with the goal of getting the bridges on state and federal lists of bridges that have been inspected. Being on the lists could make them eligible for state and federal funds.

The city was hoping to get a state matching grant to the $50,000 it has saved for bridge repairs, but the availability of such funds now is in question.

Beatty said the bridge on Ninth Street, between Oak and Acorn streets, definitely would need work.

If the bridge cannot be fully repaired, it will receive minor repairs and its weight limit would be decreased. A decrease would mean trash trucks would have to be rerouted.

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