Leavenworth County commissioners have committed $50,000 for a preliminary feasibility study for a proposal for a second bridge connecting Leavenworth County and Platte County, Missouri.

Leavenworth County commissioners have committed $50,000 for a preliminary feasibility study for a proposal for a second bridge connecting Leavenworth County and Platte County, Missouri.

Commissioners committed the $50,000 so they can solicit bids for the study. Commissioners still plan to seek assistance in paying for the study from other stakeholders.

Commissioners have proposed building an additional bridge across the Missouri River that would link Eisenhower Road with Missouri 152 Highway.

Leavenworth County already has one Missouri River bridge. The Centennial Bridge links north Leavenworth with Platte County, Missouri.

County officials want to add the second bridge and also keep the Centennial Bridge in operation.

County officials have estimated a preliminary feasibility study for the new bridge project may cost about $50,000. Members of the Leavenworth County Commission previously committed to pay up to $25,000 for the study with the idea that the remaining funds would be provided by other stakeholders who would be interested in the project.

During a commission meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Chad Schimke said he believes commissioners will continue to receive questions from stakeholders about the study. He said stakeholders want to see a more firm cost figure as well as the scope.

He recommended commissioners commit to an amount to fully fund the anticipated cost of the project so bids can be solicited.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said a cash basis law requires a commitment to fund a project in order to do a bidding process.

After the county receives proposals, commissioners would not be required to proceed with the study, he said.

He said a commitment from the commission for the full $50,000 would allow county staff to solicit proposals.

Schimke said he is confident half of the cost of the study still will be shared by other stakeholders once bids have been received.

“I do feel confident we can get it done,” he said.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith questioned whether commissioners can already commit funding for the study from the 2020 budget.

The county government will operate under its 2019 budget through the end of the calendar year.

Loughry said staff members can begin preparing documents to be used to solicit proposals. He said the matter will come to commissioners for final approval before the documents are sent out.

“We’ll do that first thing in 2020,” he said.

Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of Schimke’s idea.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Smith shared a letter he received from Ron Achelpohl, director of transportation and environment for the Mid-America Regional Council.

MARC is a regional planning organization.

In his letter, Achelpohl stated the proposed bridge project is one of more than 400 applications submitted for consideration for a long-range transportation plan for the Kansas City metropolitan area. This plan will look at transportation needs through 2050.

“As part of this process we are currently working with stakeholders from around the region to prioritize these projects within the financial resources expected to be available to the region,” Achelpohl wrote. “We encourage you to make sure that the county’s representatives on MARC transportation committees remain actively engaged in this work.”

Achelpohl also suggested county officials submit an application to another MARC program for planning funds “to help develop this concept further within the region’s current transportation goals, ideally in partnership with other jurisdictions in Kansas and Missouri.”

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