City of Platte City ups financial obligation after part of Kentucky Ave. project comes in over budget

The project to provide a second entrance/exit to the QuikTrip and McDonald’s will move forward despite disheartening financial news received late last week.

The Platte City Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to extend Kentucky Avenue from its current terminus at Highway 92 into the common drive between the two businesses, making it a part of the public road in a joint effort with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). The occasionally unstable project, which consists of two separate components, came in a total of about $445,000 over the city engineer’s estimates.

Utilizing a previous agreement, Platte County will supply its full commitment of $175,000 to help make up the difference, but the city’s total investment increased from a budgeted $500,000 to $770,000.

“This is a mixture of positive and less-than-positive news that I think will ultimately come to a positive conclusion,” Platte City city administrator said in briefing the board of the situation during the regular meeting held Tuesday, March 22.

The original estimate for the project came in at between $1.35 and $1.37 million.

Gehrt said he expected an overage but in the range of what he considered a more manageable $100,000 to $250,000. Instead, the city’s component (design, bid and manage construction on the portion of the project located on city’s right of way and design of the MoDOT component) came in about $50,000 over. The MoDOT component (bid and manage construction on the portion of the project on Highway 92) came in more than $400,000 over estimates.

The final bids came in at a total of about $1.568 million.

“This was a surprise,” Gehrt said of learning the final bid totals. “There was a word bubble over my head at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon that wasn’t a positive word bubble.”

Finding out the difference between estimates and final bids will take time, Gehrt said, but he indicated that the cost of signalizing the intersection could be much of the overrun along with the changing nature of the project over time.

Funds exist to cover the overages.

Despite the complications, Gehrt reminded the board of MoDOT’s tenuous funding, and the inevitable need to improve Highway 92 in this particular location. In addition to turning the private drive into a city road, the project aims to reconstruct the Highway 92 intersection with Kentucky Avenue into a four-way controlled signal while also reducing a troublesome superelevation along Highway 92.

To achieve these goals and end traffic backlog around two of Platte City’s busiest commercial retailers, the city formed the partnership with MoDOT pledging $500,000 and QuikTrip ending up with $350,000 committed. McDonald’s and the Wilson Trust also donated $250,000 worth of right of way.

MoDOT did amend its agreement to have $50,000 to put toward overages. The City of Platte City would be responsible for any amount over that.

“It’s unfortunate because this is actually still, a truly wonderful project. It accomplishes a major goal,” Gehrt said. “This remains a good project; it remains solidly funded. We’ve been fortunate to have good partners and delaying it would be much more costly in the future.”

On the city’s comprehensive plan, Kentucky Avenue is viewed as a four-land divided arterial roadway connecting Fourth Street all the way to Prairie View Road. Work already began in February to extend the roadway from its opposite terminus at Bent Oak Court to service Compass Elementary, Platte County’s R-3’s currently under construction new building.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also approved the sale of $1.9 million in general obligation bonds to cover its portion of that road project. In November 2014, city voters approved issuance of up to $2.7 million for the purpose of funding this part of the extension.

Estimates on interest rates for those bonds were at 2.7 percent, while the bid awarded to Bank of Tennessee came in at just under 2.45 percent to reduce interest obligations. 

The remaining $800,000 in authorized debt is available in the event of an extraordinary occurrence during the construction of Kentucky. Barring that occurrence, the remaining debt authority cannot be used for any other purpose.