With certain discrepancies found
in the Platte County Roads Master Plan earlier in
the year combined with economic distress due to
rising oil prices, new Public Works Director Greg
Sager has taken over a financial challenge for the
We have some inherent financial
challenges with trying to get the best value we
can for the citizens, said Sager. Our
challenge is to maintain 68 bridges and approximately
225 miles of roadway. We are continually challenged
by oil prices that fluctuate daily. Its hard
to budget for asphalt products, fuel and aggregate
when fuel and oil are a moving target.
Sager stated that those fluctuating
oil prices have a direct effect against our
roads master plan. In the unincorporated portion
of the county, we have over 40 miles of road that
were going to be improved to either asphalt or chip
and seal. Oil prices have sky rocketed since the
original estimates were made and that makes a big
impact on our ability to do this as easily as we
would have liked.
According to Sager, the projects
identified on the Roads Master Plan in 2002 will
cost more to construct now than they were originally
estimated due to the increase in oil prices.
However, while oil has impacted
everyone from consumers at the gas pump to the construction
crews laying the asphalt, Sager said its not
the only reason that the projects listed in the
roads master plan are more expensive than initially
Its my understanding
that the estimates didnt include all of the
costs needed to make all of the improvements as
indicated by the initial plan, said Sager.
As reported previously in The Landmark,
Planning and Zoning Director Aaron Schmidt stated
that, The original cost estimates shown in
the Roads Master Plan are not detail oriented and
do not take a comprehensive look at each project
specifically. The estimates are essentially planning
Schmidt said transportation projects
typically begin with planning level
costs that increase in accuracy as they progress
from conceptual stages to engineering and construction.
These figures are typically the first and roughest
numbers in the life of a project and, in this case,
only factored a portion of the needed improvements.
Former Public Works Director Dale
Thomas agreed with Schmidt.
Improvement costs in the Roads
Master Plan were developed on a cost per linear
foot basis, said Thomas. This
method did not account for additional expenses involving
general safety improvements such as road widening,
drainage improvements or other unexpected costs
that can arise.
According to Schmidt, the roads
master plan, which was adopted three years ago,
was formulated by several entities.
The roads master plan was
done by a county-hired consultant firm called HNTB,
county staff-comprised of myself and Dale (Thomas),
county commissioners who were primarily led by former
2nd District Commissioner Steve Wegner, and a committee
appointed by the former commission comprised of
county residents, said Schmidt.
The Roads Master Plan, which is
divided into equally between the incorporated and
unincorporated sections of the plan, outlines projects
to which the 3/8 cent road sales tax money will
be dedicated to.
According to Sager, over a ten year
time frame, the 3/8 cent sales tax was originally
projected to bring in $65.6 million, with the unincorporated
portion of the county receiving $32.8 million.
That $32.8 million would then be
divided between priority one, two and three bridges
and the county road district funds. Sager said of
the $32.8 allocated by the plan, road district 1
(responsible for all the gravel roads in the unincorporated
portion of the county not serviced by a special
road district and a small fraction of chip and seal
roads) should receive $5.5 million, with the City
of Weston receiving $2.6 million, $925,000 dedicated
to the Farley Road District and the remaining $23.6
million named for 23 specific projects such as:
Union Chapel Road, Jones Myer and Fox Road.
Its my understanding
that actuals are going to be closer to $50 million
instead of $65 million, said Sager, confirming
a fact first reported in The Landmark back in February.
(With these figures) it would
be more difficult to construct the improvements
as identified on the road plan.
While the county may incur some
obstacles along the way of fulfilling the roads
master plan, Sager said the county is dedicated
to seeing the projects through.
These commissioners are trying
to do everything they can to fulfill the promises
made in the roads master plan, said Sager.
Im impressed to see all that theyre
doing to make those promises happen and Im
very impressed with how forthcoming theyve
been with the residents.