IT’S PLATTE CITY’S LARGEST-EVER INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT
Gov. Mike Parson’s recent announcement of $6.678 million in a transportation cost share grant was big news for Platte City, according to Mayor Tony Paolillo.
“Gov. Parson’s announcement gave us the last piece needed to partner with five other funding sources to make the $16.8 million Hwy. 92 East Side project a reality,” Paolillo said this week.
The project, which will involve Hwy. 92 east of I-29 from the interstate to Bethel Road, will improve Hwy. 92 to become a divided four lane highway with curbs, gutters and sidewalks. It covers a distance of 1.3 miles.
“The four lane Hwy. 92 project will continue the east side transformation that the city has been working to achieve over the past 40 years,” Paolillo said.
The first piece in the late 1980’s was placing the water standpipe east of I-29.
“Developing the 40% of the city east of I-29 has been one of my primary goals since my first term as an alderman in 2008,” Paolillo added.
Although the city had been making slow progress on the east side, the two million square feet Platte City Commerce Center announced last year and the governor’s announcement last week “accelerated us to warp speed,” the mayor said.
“Project funding is really a tribute to the partnerships the city has developed with the private sector and other government agencies,” he continued.
In addition to the $6.67 million announced by the governor, the project is also receiving multi-million dollar contributions from Platte County, MARC (Mid America Regional Council) and VTRE (Van Trust Real Estate), as well as funding from the Platte City Transportation Sales Tax Fund.
Platte City Special Road District is also contributing a funding commitment to provide backstop funding if the project exceeds its final budget, city officials say.
“There is no way the city could have paid for a nearly $17 million dollar project by itself,” Paolillo commented. “However, when we combine money from the city and our five partners, we can accomplish a great deal at a price we can all afford.”
Paolillo said the city has worked with MoDOT, Platte County and other regional partners for the past 10 years to improve Hwy. 92 on both sides of the interstate. Over the past 10 years, Hwy. 92 inside Platte City has changed a great deal with the Kentucky/QuikTrip intersection, the Exit 18 overpass improvements and last year’s surface work from Marshall to Kentucky.
“All of those projects were made possible by a great deal of planning and even more work to build partnerships with private sector businesses, MoDOT, Platte County and other local agencies,” the mayor said.
“The city’s long term planning and partnership development all came together to fund the upcoming east side improvements,” Paolillo added.
The city did its first east side Hwy. 92 planning through a 2015-16 Planning Sustainable Places grant from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).
“That was a community based planning effort that has been our blueprint over the last eight years. The keystone of that plan was to transform Hwy. 92 east of I-29 into a four lane divided urban highway.”
“The east side Hwy. 92 improvements are important to both the growth and sustainability of Platte City,” says D. J. Gehrt, city administrator. “Building it out as a four lane divided highway will safely accommodate the increase of both commercial traffic from Hunt Midwest and from the two million square foot Platte City Commerce Center, and from the new east side residential development.”
While the Hwy. 92 project will add east side capacity, it will also sustain and protect the small town feel of the current Platte City, city officials say.
Adding east side capacity up to the I-29 exit will allow the east side to grow without too much traffic spill over into the portion of Platte City west of I-29.
“This gives us the best of both worlds,” according to Paolillo. “The city will have the infrastructure to grow in the east side development area while it minimizes the impact on the small town feel that we want to preserve in the current Platte City.”
The project will be the most expensive infrastructure project in the city’s history, city officials say.
“At almost $17 million dollars this is the city’s largest single infrastructure project to date,” according to Gehrt.
The project comes on the heels of and is partially driven by the largest single development project in the city’s history, the $200 million dollar Platte Commerce Center announced by Van Trust Real Estate (VTRE) in August of last year.
“The combination of these two projects will drive the transformation of the east side that the board of aldermen worked to accomplish for many years,” said Paolillo.
The project also includes improvements to the Bethel Road/Hwy. 92 intersection.
Although the project design is in a very early stage, the intent is to construct all the new lanes on the currently undeveloped side of the Hwy. 92 right-of-way, according to the city administrator.
The two new lanes should be constructed on the north side of the existing Hwy. 92 from the interstate almost to the entrance to Timber Creek subdivision.
The roadway will be realigned between Timber Creek and Bethel Road to place the new lanes on the south side of the existing Hwy. 92.
“The conceptual design with new lanes on the undeveloped side of the current highway will minimize or eliminate impact on existing homes and businesses,” Gehrt said.
There will be a series of public meetings and other public comment opportunities throughout the design process, Gehrt said. The city hopes to begin engineering design by the middle of 2023 in order to be in a position to begin construction in late 2024 or early 2025.
“This is a long process,” the mayor said. “Like any major project it will not be easy or quick to get from funding approval to finished project, but east side development is now a reality rather than just a hope.”