Don’t fret about the future of Highway 92 just yet

Maybe that headline could be a little misleading, mostly for those who use the road in Platte City every day.

Yes, I understand delays have been happening, especially during peak traffic hours due to the lane reductions near the intersections at Kentucky Avenue and Prairie View/Running Horse roads. Fear not. Work on that portion of the Highway 92 project should end in a few weeks.
That doesn’t mean the Highway 92 Corridor Study draft immediately goes into effect, forever altering Platte City’s main arterial roadway.

The Platte City Board of Aldermen did unanimously approve the document during its Tuesday, Sept. 27 meeting. People have taken interest in the details of the document, which can be a very long, thorough read if you are so inclined to get into the minutiae.

I’ve operated under the assumption you don’t want to do that, so I’ve worked for the duration of the year-long study to try and break it down, provide you with workable bites to digest. You know, get to the important parts.

After last week, the article we provided here generated conversation on our Facebook page and probably other places in Platte County that aren’t in the online realm. A lot of the reaction seemed negative and maybe a little confused as to what’s going to occur and when as it relates to the study.

First, you have to keep in mind this is a long-term vision — 30 years or so. Second, you have to realize that not all of the options presented will occur soon and some may never occur at all.
These plans will be implemented as need arises and funding becomes available.

What is important is that city leaders — with a big help from a Mid-American Regional Council grant — have invested in trying to plan for the future. This document at least provides a road map, figuratively and literally, to look to in the coming years. 

Funding for pavement in this state has been tough to come by in recent years with the Missouri Department of Transportation putting an emphasis on maintaining existing roadways, rather than rebuilding or constructing new ones. However, should money become available to the City of Platte City or should existing revenue streams allow, leaders have a document to look to rather than having to throw together a project to meet a deadline.

And there’s options.

That’s what’s great about the presentation of this draft. There are preferred options given but alternatives exist. 

The vision came with a lot of citizen input — identifying the existing conditions and seeing what could be improved and trying to predict the future growth and account for needed changes.

That means the city needs to expand the right of way east of Interstate 29 for Highway 92, and the expansion of that roadway should occur as development takes place.

That means looking at the interchange with I-29 and scoping out a project that would realign the northbound and southbound ramps to allow for more distance between Prairie View/Running Horse.

That means looking at the intersection with Fourth Street and widening Highway 92 from Marshall Road to Casey’s.

Even though many have already complained about the idea of another roundabout — the most hated type of roadway in North America, apparently — change needs to happen at that intersection. At least that’s what citizens who participated in the public hearings for the corridor study said.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a roundabout, although that was presented as the preferred option. Plus, the improvements on the east and west side are likely to be further down the road — a decade or maybe longer.

For now, expect the city to try and finish out the network of sidewalks in town. Look for MoDOT’s resurfacing of the entirety of Highway 92 during 2017. Plan to see a project scope done for the I-29 interchange.

These will happen soon, and we can worry about the rest when we have to worry about the rest.

Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.