Hello and Happy 2021!! Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Now we are in, to me, the most boring time of year. But, we have the Chiefs to cheer on in the playoffs!!!!
OK, down to business. I’m sure you’ve noticed all the construction along several streets in Kansas City: 63rd, Wornall, 75th and Gregory. I travel these streets every day and have been dodging cones, workers, steel plates and weaving along trying to stay in one skinny lane with oncoming traffic! What is happening??
I called Sean Ackerson, Executive Director of the Southtown Council for more information. He explained that Spire Gas and their subcontractors are doing utility work along these streets, replacing the 100 year old cast iron main gas lines. This new high pressure system they are installing creates a more efficient distribution system.
The construction work is taking longer than usual because, well, these projects usually do! There was a lot of exploratory work in the beginning to find and mark the water and sewer lines so they could map out the new gas pipes. This project started over two years ago—and there’s still several months to go before it’s finished. And when the winter weather hits, everything stops as the crews can’t work in rain, snow and ice. I asked Sean if there was a possible end date in sight, and he replied: “We have the schedule they gave us, but it’s not reliable due to the unpredictability of weather and other scheduled breaks for holidays.” After the gas lines are set, then the work moves to adjoin the adjacent business and residential properties along these streets to the new main lines. This can involve moving gas meters outside of the properties as well.
Another big project planned for Brookside – which has the potential to be even more disruptive—is separating the storm and sanitary sewer lines underground. This project was mandated by the EPA several years ago—and it’s one reason your water bills go higher and higher. This will involve ripping up the streets once again.
It’s unfortunate that these major projects can’t be coordinated, so there isn’t so much disruption. Just be careful and patient when travelling along these streets in Brookside, watching for the workers, cones and detours. And make an extra effort to support those local businesses who’s storefronts are affected! Whenever it’s all finished—one year, five years, it’s all needed infrastructure improvement for our neighborhood.