High costs, lack of state help lead Goddard to cancel two key projects

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By Nancy D. Borst, TSnews

GODDARD – Skyrocketing construction costs and a lack of state funding led to a decision Monday by the Goddard City Council to cancel two road projects associated with the STAR bond development.
The city will proceed with its plan to partner with the Kansas Department of Transportation to construct a Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT), which will become the entrance off US-54 into the STAR bond site. Initially in 2019, the cost to build the RCUT was estimated at less than $2 million. Today, that price tag has ballooned to $6.67 million.
“We’ve had significant cost increases to those estimates,” said city administrator Brian Silcott.
The STAR bond development agreement states the city must pay for any cost not funded by KDOT for construction of the RCUT to provide access to the development. The city has earmarked general obligation bonds totaling $1.5 million along with additional funds from the 2022-23 Capital Improvement Program to pay its share of the project. KDOT is slated to fund $4 million for the project.
Silcott told the council that KDOT had envisioned the RCUT as a low cost solution to traffic signals. But the Goddard RCUT is one of only two planned in Kansas and KDOT has discovered “it’s a cumbersome design,” he said.
The city also had hoped to improve the intersection of 183rd Street West and US-54, which is just east of the STAR bond project, and to build a connector roadway to facilitate movement into the STAR bond complex south of the highway. The estimated cost of those two projects is $4.6 million, all of which would have to be funded locally. KDOT has cut proposed funding for the 183rd Street project, but the city can reapply for funds in the 2023-24 fiscal year.
“With all this being said, staff is recommending we proceed with the RCUT and that we defer/cancel those projects,” Silcott said, “and to use extreme caution with capital improvements in coming years going forward so we can rebuild the fund health we had 4-5 years ago.”
The city has committed itself to more than $4 million in other capital improvement projects.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to require a Main Street business owner to move a vending machine from the sidewalk, which is city right-of-way, to private property. The current placement violates city code.
• Approved purchase of new doors for the city pool at a cost of $10,997 from Overhead Door. The metal doors will be installed on the pump room, the chlorine room and the storage room.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 to hold its revenue neutral budget hearing.