Since the passage of Platte County’s roads sales tax in the early 2000s, dozens of road projects across the county have been completed. Just a few major projects are left on the schedule.
At the Monday, Aug. 12 meeting of the Platte County Commission, director of public works Bob Heim said of the 72 bridges slated for replacement under the road improvement master plan, only 13 remain. Of these, three bridge projects are now in the initial planning phases.
Bridges on Lamar Road and Kirk Bottom Road near Weston and Bee Creek Boulevard near Platte City are slated for replacement. Heim said preliminary estimates are $507,000 for Lamar Road, $610,000 for Kirk Bottom Road and $920,000 for the larger bridge at Bee Creek Boulevard. Bee Creek Boulevard would also be realigned as part of the project, he said.
The county is working on securing assistance from federal infrastructure programs, which could fund up to 80 percent of the bridge projects. Heim said the county intends to leverage these funds in conjunction with the proceeds of the 3/8th cent roads sales tax, which will expire in 2023.
Recently completed road projects include routine resurfacing and the second phase of Interurban Road from Camden Point to Dearborn, where erosion problems were addressed and the roadway repaved.
“Roads and bridges are not static,” Heim said. “They almost have a life of their own. They move and they crack, so something that may not be on the list today could be tomorrow.”
In addition to the county’s regular resurfacing projects which are completed each year, Heim said the rough winter and wet spring exponentially increased the workload for crews. The increased snow and ice events snarled traffic and created potholes. During the 2017-2018 winter, county crews responded to snow events 10 times. During this past winter, Heim said crews pushed snow 39 times.
The weather has also caused several mudslides, including a couple near Platte City which were cleared by the Platte City Special Road District.
Residents in Waldron have wondered when a mudslide blocking a portion of River Road will be cleaned up. Heim said the mudslide initially happened in May during heavy rainfall. Public works crews cleared the roadway of mud and trees and reopened it the next day. The following day, the hill slipped again. County engineers then decided further repairs to stabilize the hillside couldn’t proceed until the ground dries out.
Heim said the property owner has a contractor lined up waiting for the hillside to dry out enough to remove the remaining dirt blocking the roadway. Some of that dirt was left in place to redirect future rainfall away from the residence across the street. Barring future heavy rain events, the repairs should begin within a few weeks, he said.
Future road projects include working to pave more gravel roads and cleaning out ditches. Heim said the county is responsible for about 400 miles of ditches.