by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor
Motorists voiced concerns and made recommendations over a stretch of highway in Platte City last week at a public meeting held at the Shiloh Springs Golf Course.
D.J. Gehrt, city administrator, encouraged residents and business owners in the Platte City area to share their thoughts on how to improve the Highway 92 Corridor. This was the beginning step in the formal planning process to improve the corridor spanning from Route 273 at Tracy on the west to Bethel Road on the east.
The city is teaming with Mid-America Regional Council and the Missouri Department of Transportation to study the existing road conditions and solicit feedback from stakeholders to develop a suitable five-year plan for the corridor.
Gehrt said the information gathered will help the city identify specific improvement concepts for the corridor. So far, a funding source has not been identified for any future improvements.
The corridor spans approximately four miles. Everyday an estimated 10,000 vehicles travel the Highway 92 Corridor.
Near Highway 273 on the west side of town, the highway is two-lanes with a wide shoulder. As it stretches across Interstate 29 it becomes five lanes. Near Bethel Road on the east side of town, the highway narrows to a two-lane stretch with narrow shoulders and steep slopes. The posted speed limit is 55 mph.
A number of motorists in attendance identified safety, sight problems, and steep slopes as challenges facing the Highway 92 corridor. Despite these challenges, the accident rate along the corridor is lower than the national average.
The intersection of Highway 92 and Running Horse Road has been another safety concern. Gehrt said several sections of roadway in and around this highly congested area will be improved next year.
Kentucky Avenue will also be extended about one block north to create an auxiliary point of entry into McDonalds and QuikTrip. The proposed roadway will be four-lanes wide.
“We will kill two birds with one stone. We will get rid of some of that super elevation, which is causing some problems and get a second way into QuikTrip and McDonalds,” said Gehrt.
Also in the near future, the Missouri Department of Transportation will be resurfacing Highway 92 from Tracy to Smithville. Gehrt is optimistic the resurfacing project will be completed in 2016 or 2017.
Now that those projects are in the works, Gehrt said the city is in a good position to come up a long term plan for the Highway 92 Corridor. Platte City residents and business owners are encouraged to share their recommendations at highway92.digicate.com by Nov. 29.
A number of attendees used words like “attractive,” “vibrant” and “nature trail” to describe how they would like to see the Highway 92 Corridor in 2020.
To create a design that reflects the community values, the city has hired Vireo to assist with the long-range plan. So far, the firm has identified several unique features the city could use to create a more attractive corridor.
Access and signage from Highway 92 connecting to historic downtown Platte City, and creating a pedestrian trail are a few of the considerations being proposed by the landscape architects.
The next step in the process will be creating, refining, and adopting a five-year plan. Gehrt said a plan should be devised by next summer.