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Archive for Friday, October 20, 2006

Jeff. Co. will not challenge bridge plan

October 20, 2006

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Jefferson County commissioners will not challenge an earlier decision by their colleagues in Douglas County to take over the Lecompton bridge repair project.

Jefferson County sent a letter Thursday afternoon to Douglas County stating it will not, however, provide funds for the repair project, which could cost at least $3.3 million.

The two counties have disagreed about whether the bridge should be closed when repairs are made, as is favored by Douglas County. Jefferson County favors keeping the bridge open to one lane.

In an agreement earlier in the summer, Douglas County was to pay for about 90 percent of the repair cost. As early as August, however, Douglas County announced intentions to take over the project, close the bridge and pay the entire cost, if Jefferson County chose not to participate. Douglas County presented Jefferson County with some options for paying for contractor incentives.

Jefferson County commissioners said they were not aware that Douglas County made a definite decision to take over the project until they received a copy of a letter Douglas County sent to the Kansas Department of Transportation dated Sept. 26. They said they didn't receive a copy of that letter until this past Monday.

"They always said 'we might, we may, we could,'" Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Christy said.

Christy noted that, during the Sept. 5 Jefferson County meeting, he had made a motion that if Douglas County decided to take over the bridge project, Jefferson County would not supply any funds.

Jefferson County requested the Kansas Department of Transportation to intervene in the matter to resolve the dispute between the two counties. Douglas County commissioners initially opposed KDOT's intervention, but they later changed their minds and agreed to allow KDOT to decide the issue.

In a statement released during Thursday's meeting, Jefferson County said its concern has always been for the safety of the individuals using the bridge.

"The bridge project will cause an immense hardship on the citizens of Lecompton, the citizens of Perry, the school patrons and administration," the statement said.

Douglas County has said keeping the bridge open would present its own safety problems, and the bridge would still have to be closed up to 60 days.

Following the meeting, Christy said he felt as if giving in to Douglas County was like dealing with a hostile takeover. During private conversations, Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson said Douglas County would never allow KDOT to decide the bridge issue, Christy said. He said he thought Douglas County was willing to force the issue into litigation.

"There was never any implication on our part of litigation," Johnson said.

Johnson said Douglas County reluctantly agreed to allow KDOT intervention when KDOT said it would need a request from both counties to resolve the issue.

Christy also said that during a private conversation, Johnson said, "Douglas County would be better off if Lecompton washed down the river."

Johnson denied the allegation.

"Good gracious, no," he said. "I didn't say it. I don't think it. I don't feel it."

Johnson said Lecompton residents who have called and sent e-mails to him have been civil and respectful.

Jefferson County still favors a KDOT resolution, but will send a letter informing the agency that intervention is no longer needed, Christy said.

Comments

oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

In Sunday's (Oct 22) LJW, the article about the library shows a Perry family at the library. They probably used that Perry-Lecompton bridge no doubt, to drive to the Library.

Sounds like an DG Co. based amenity used by Jeff Co. residents for which they contribute nothing.

Not that I am suggesting that they should.

The bridge is a far different matter.

Jeff Co. Commrs should contribute a reasonable amont (defined as something above zero, and closer to the originally agreed percentage) before some there take to again complaining about Lawrence and Douglas County and its elected officials as being self-centered and uncaring about their needs and safety on the bridge issue.

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SpeedRacer 7 years, 6 months ago

If this project were to start in the late spring, it would be completed by the time school started up again. This would minimize the school issue. I would hope they finish ahead of schedule like they did with the road a couple of years ago. What did everyone do while that was going on?

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Katara 7 years, 6 months ago

I had to walk to school barefoot uphill BOTH ways in a year long continual blizzard. Don't tell ME about inconvenience!

That is all this is about. Some people are inconvenienced. I'm sorry that it happens but it does. You are still getting a new bridge out of the deal. One that would be safer. Isn't that worth being inconvenienced for a while?

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not_dolph 7 years, 6 months ago

Posted by blackdog (anonymous) on October 21, 2006 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My guess is that not_dolph is between 20-35, drives very fast, has a good job, and has never had to go 30-50 miles out of his way for 140 days to get to work or school.


wrong.

wrong.

correct.

wrong.

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NannaM 7 years, 6 months ago

Since Lecompton does not want change or growth in the community, I think this would be a great time to just take out the bridge there and move it to Williamstown. That would align HWY 59 with the bypass at the Lecompton exchange. ( I realize a curve would have to be put into the road due to the family donating the ground to KU to twart the plan.) I think we need to be thinking of a wiser use of the money. This way it would keep Lecompton frozen in history the way the locals want it and those wanting to go to the museum could use local roads. Lawrence should annex Lecompton into their school district since Lecompton has no economic base. If the locals insist on having schools in Perry, then the commute to Williamstown isn't that far. The existing bridge was shut down for commercial use several years ago. Which, doesn't allow for much more than lake traffic. I think this would be a great time for change.

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blackdog 7 years, 6 months ago

My guess is that not_dolph is between 20-35, drives very fast, has a good job, and has never had to go 30-50 miles out of his way for 140 days to get to work or school.

While most of this blog is interesting, it is still a fact that Jefferson County could not compete or cowarded out, and that many, many people and businesses will have their lives changed drastically for a long period of time.

All the nasty and rude comments through this whole ordeal are just that. Rude.

This situation cannot be totally compared to any other in Douglas County. It will have an impact on a whole school district, businesses in two counties, income and expenses of many families, and there will be students that just received driver's license and will not be allowed to drive.

Many of you will not be affected in any way, so please have compassion for those that will. The world won't end, but lives will change and that is a hard pill to swallow for many.

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not_dolph 7 years, 6 months ago

Posted by number3of5 (anonymous) on October 20, 2006 at 3:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Katara:

I am very serious about people not being able to get out of bed earlier. The 20 - 35 age group already have a habit of not getting to work on time. On the road they are in such a hurry to get where they need to be that they are dangerous. Add more time to their trip and it will be very dangerous.


That is the MOST retarded excuse I have ever heard. Get real...and get off this thread 3 of 5.

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not_dolph 7 years, 6 months ago

Posted by rosebud (anonymous) on October 20, 2006 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just don't understand the real need to completely close it. My daughter works in Perry making minimum wage, heck, it wouldn't even pay her to drive all the way around just to get to work 5 days a week.


I am guessing that she might be able to find another minimum wage job (or better paying) on her route around the construction area....hmmm.....just a thought anyhow.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 6 months ago

By the way, did you folks know that it is illegal to require a contractor to guraranty work on any project which recieves Federal funds?

I do not know if this project sucks from the Federal teat but this is a good fact for you to know.

Thaks.

Marion.

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gccs14r 7 years, 6 months ago

Rosebud,

They want a clean, solid surface. Moisture penetration kills pavement, especially in areas subject to freezing temperatures. If they leave one lane open, passing vehicles will disturb the curing concrete in the other lane, causing cracks. Since it's a cap, not a completely new deck, the cracks will extend only the depth of the cap, letting water pool between the old and new concrete. When the water freezes, it'll pop large chunks of the deck loose, eventually leaving gargantuan wheel-breaking potholes. After a few years, the bridge will have to be closed again, maybe for replacement, rather than repair.

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

bd: "I bet that Jeff co. has but 1/50th. of Douglas co. revenue!"

But it doesn't have 0% of the revenue. And it does receive direct benefits from a public investment. What is your point? Rural counties are already heavily subsidized in this state by urban ones.

I grew up in one of the least populated counties in KS with far poorer budgets than Jeff Co. and am familiar with how roads and bridges and other infrastructure can be cooperative affairs....and how very very expensive they are. Even the Jeff Co Commrs originally agreed to 'assist' in an appropriate way on this one.

I agree with the others of 'git 'er done. If the Jeff Co Commrs don't want to participate, fine. But then no whining should be heard and face-saving political justifications from the Jeff Co Commrs should not be listened to.

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rosebud 7 years, 6 months ago

I just don't understand the real need to completely close it. My daughter works in Perry making minimum wage, heck, it wouldn't even pay her to drive all the way around just to get to work 5 days a week. Why must both lanes be shut down for even 60 days. The bridge on 32 Hwy at Linwood kept 1 lane open while they redid it. Yes, it took a year but there was only 1 day that you could not cross it, at least on one side. The traffic lights worked well there.

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conservative 7 years, 6 months ago

Well if Jefferson county really wants to "work with Douglas County to insure the project goes well and is completed in the shortest amount of time practical in order to minimize both hardship and inconvienence." Then they should pony up the money for the incentives. If they don't then it'll be a sure sign that the entire debate has been about money on their end.

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number3of5 7 years, 6 months ago

Katara:

I am very serious about people not being able to get out of bed earlier. The 20 - 35 age group already have a habit of not getting to work on time. On the road they are in such a hurry to get where they need to be that they are dangerous. Add more time to their trip and it will be very dangerous. This article is not about this though. It is about closing a lifeline for Perry/Lecompton and other Jefferson County residents. Yesterday I emailed the Jefferson County Road Superintendent. Here is George W. Pogge's reply to me. "That it is a lifeline is much more the reason for getting the project completed in the shortest amount of time. in the most safe manner, with a product that will be in place the longest and be of the highest quality. We have and will continue to work with Douglas County to insure the project goes well and is completed in the shortest amount of time practical in order to minimize both hardship and inconvienence."

concernedparent: Thanks for your info.

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bd 7 years, 6 months ago

I bet that Jeff co. has but 1/50th. of Douglas co. revenue! I'm sure part of their problem is comming up with any money for the project! Not many rural counties in Kansas can even come close to DC revenues! Get a clue!

Poor countys always lose to the rich counties!

DC and the rich will always prevail!

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rebelmom 7 years, 6 months ago

strateup-I live in Lecompton, work in Perry, and have kids who are very active in after-school activities in Perry! It's gonna affect me and my kids A LOT - but I put on my big girl panites so I could deal with it : ) I'd much rather "git 'r done" than deal with a one-lane situation that drags on for a year. Yeah, it'll be a pain - but it ain't that big a thang. Many area residents are making such a big deal of this, and I don't get it.

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

strateup: "....therefore they can't understand why Lecompton and Jefferson county are fighting this."

No, what we do not understand is why Jeff Co Commrs assume they should have any say or concern in the matter unless they agree to assist financially in a project which, as you write, is supposedly so important for them. At zero dollar participation, their statements of concern for safety, for the schools, for the community, are very very hollow indeed.

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strateup 7 years, 6 months ago

I grew up in Lecompton and attended Perry-Lecompton high school. Although I don't live in lecompton anymore I can deeply sympathise with those that do live there. The bridge is the main artery between Perry and Lecompton. I believe most posters here probably don't use the bridge, therefore they can't understand why Lecompton and Jefferson county are fighting this. Maybe a possible solution would be to leave a walking lane over the bridge. Students could walk across and be picked up by a bus on the other side.

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Katara 7 years, 6 months ago

3of5 said: The ones of us who use the bridge will be hurt financially by increased gas cost. We will also have longer driving times. Many will be late to work because of this. They simply can't seem to get out of bed earlier. There will be more accidents because they will be in a hurry to get where they need to be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are you being sarcastic or serious? I really can't tell.

I could see increased gas costs somewhat as an argument to keep 1 lane open but late for work because they can't get out of bed earlier?

Please tell me you are being facetious.

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rebelmom 7 years, 6 months ago

Right on, roadrash! I say everyone south of the river who is in FAVOR of closing the bridge write to KDOT and county commissioners - and get to that next commissioners meeting. Not everyone who lives in Douglas county views this as a huge deal. Safety of the bridge workers and a better-quality finished product are issues, too. Inconvenience is not fatal.

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

Quantum is totally correct.

His comments are not 'cutting down' the people of Jefferson County. His comments are critical of the Jeff Co Commrs, which is where the criticism appropriately, and very decidedly belongs. If they truly cared, they would pony up for a reasonable portion of their shared responsibility.

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roadrash 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree with KS. get it done and behind us. around 140 days verses 320 when only partial use would be permitted. probably no combines, heavy trucks and such.we live just south of the bridge and work in perry plus have students at perry schools. we will survive. the world as we know it will not end. I'm glad we have two commissioners who are in a position to do what is right without bending to vocal local outcries.

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concernedparent 7 years, 6 months ago

There will be another meeting regarding the bridge that all Jeff Co. and Douglas Co people who are concerned about the closing. It will be held somewhere between Oct 30th and Nov 3. They won't necessarily hear what people have to say, but it helps that people show up. Also, KDOT is taking letters from citizens as well, and they suggest sending a copy also to the Douglas County commissioners. However I know they haven't taken the time to listen to us up to this point, but we might as well do it. I found all that information at the Lecompton post office last night if anyone wants to know more about it.

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roger_o_thornhill 7 years, 6 months ago

Always a diabolical plan somewhere. Still think someone's got an old 'bailey' bridge in their barn. Set that sucker up and charge toll.

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Jeteras 7 years, 6 months ago

Douglas County has about 8% to do with the SLT topflight. Do a little research before you post about something you know nothing about.

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topflight 7 years, 6 months ago

To bad these Douglas County Jackass's would not put this much effort into the South Lawrence Traffice way. Something that we need way worse than any stupid bridge in Lecompton. Seems like they have their own agenda. I wonder what that is.

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number3of5 7 years, 6 months ago

quantam: Do you live in Douglas county? Do you use the bridge?

If not - Would you please refrain from cutting down the people of Jefferson county?

The ones of us who use the bridge will be hurt financially by increased gas cost. We will also have longer driving times. Many will be late to work because of this. They simply can't seem to get out of bed earlier. There will be more accidents because they will be in a hurry to get where they need to be.

Yes, the bridge needs reworked. It needs to be done. All I ask is a little consideration on the parts of both counties commissioners in doing this. The repercussions of closing the bridge completely out weigh the money. Which in the end is the main issue for the commissioners of Douglas county.

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quantum 7 years, 6 months ago

If Jeff Co truly cared about the people of Lecompton and Perry, seems they would be eager to pay for incentives to hurry the project along.

I hate to sound cynical, but wondering if they played on people's fears just to avoid paying their share of the costs.

Now playing on other emotions -- Johnson's comments -- to draw attention away from the refusal to pay incentives.

What a mess!

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KS 7 years, 6 months ago

Good decision! Get er done!

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