Road repairs to School Road began this week after Cass County Commissioners approved acceptance of bid for Phase 1 of the project during a recent commission meeting.
“I’m happy to finally see us accept the bid on School Road,” Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox said.
Last year, Cox presented a three-phase plan to include both the cities of Raymore and Peculiar, along with the County, in an cost sharing effort to make safety improvements on School Road.
A 2.3 mile stretch from Hubach Hill Road to 211th Street School Road is narrow, hilly and without shoulders. Crashes are frequent, especially during school hours, and in the past, the road has been notorious for hill jumping.
Under the plan, the county asked Raymore and Peculiar to forgo their share of the country's quarter cent road and bridge tax without paying anything out of pocket.
After meeting with both municipalities, Raymore declined to participate – stating that they couldn’t justify spending money outside the city although the improvements would benefit Raymore residents, particularly students traveling to Raymore-Peculiar High School in Peculiar.
Cox went back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan to leverage the county to use their own funds to move forward with the first and second piece of the three-phase project, along with an alternate plan to fund the remainder by joining forces with Peculiar.
In April, Peculiar Board of Aldermen approved an agreement in which they would pick up about 45 percent of the $1.2 million of the costs for Phase 3.
It’s also possible that the county and Peculiar will get a grant to cover a significant portion of the final phase. A proposed sidewalk along part of the road is expected to increase the chances for funding.
Former Peculiar Alderman Homer Dunsworth was vocal with his support for the project.
“When I was on the school board,” Dunsworth said, “I think we had one fatality and several near-fatality wrecks – it was incredible. Anybody who wants to go over when school starts or gets outs, and really wants to test their sense of adventure, go out on School Road.”
Dunsworth commended Cox for making the improvements happen.
“It’s death waiting to happen on that road out there,” he said. “Hats off to you.”
During a May 29 regular commission meeting, Commissioners accepted the lowest of five bids for the project. The bid was awarded to Hoy Excavating for $1.36 million for Phase 1.
The current construction taking place on the road will cause the road will be closed to through traffic, south of Elm Street, until Thursday, June 12.
Motorists are encouraged to use 211th Street east to J Highway as an alternate route.
All three phases of the road improvement project is estimated to be completed in 2016, unless the grant is awarded. Then the disbursement schedule of state money could push completion to 2017.
Individuals who have questions about the road closure should contact Cass County Road and Bridge Director Terry Faulkenberry at 816-810-9813.
In other business from the May 29 meeting, the commissioners also approved a professional services agreement with Spectrum Strategies, a Lee’s Summit-based agency, to provide economic development services, beginning June 1.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities that remain in Cass County for economic development,” Spectrum Strategies’ William Brown said. “I thought we could help Cass County and the stakeholders there obtain some of the goals that they’ve set out for themselves.”
The contract will be valid for one year.
“The county has grown a lot and there’s a lot of good things happening,” Brown added. “I think (Cass County) is on the cusp of some really good things that go beyond a lot of the success that we’ve already had.”