Reconstruction of Orchard Street, which was to have been completed this year, won’t be finished until next summer.
The schedule is wrecked because electric, gas and telephone companies have been slow to relocate their lines. Road builders haven’t been able to begin their work.
Voters in April 2012 approved a $4.6 million bond issue for adding shoulders to Pryor Road and rebuilding Orchard with new drainage and sidewalks between Douglas Street and Independence Avenue. The work on Pryor is in progress.
The city contracted with Emery Sapp & Sons to design and build the project, with the goal of starting construction in June and finishing this year. It was trying a new method where it hired one team for design and construction, instead of designing the project then accepting construction bids.
The intent was to speed up construction. But the utility problems derailed that plan.
Construction will take two seasons instead of one, said Scott Eason, project manager for Emery Sapp & Sons.
Eason said the company identified all the utility conflicts and notified the utilities in January and again in February — and after that contacted them weekly to try to push them “with limited response.”
At the Aug. 19 Public Works Committee, Councilwoman Diane Forte asked if the city could do anything. Eason said officials could keep calling and “put a little more teeth in your agreements with them.”
Councilman Rob Binney, committee chairman, said he thinks the city has limited leverage because utlities are regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Dena Mezger, interim director of public works, said KCP&L now has work underway but relocations by gas and telephone companies haven’t started yet.
She said the city had hoped the contractor would start construction in early June, but as of this week there is no definite start date.
The contractor hopes to complete the section from Magnolia Street to Independence Avenue this year, if utilities complete their work, then begin finishing the stretch to Douglas in the spring.