Farmland Road project is ongoing

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Motorists make their way along Farmland Road between Mansfield Road and U.S. Highway 50.

The Farmland Road project continues, right of way acquisition is complete and the next steps include final financing, advertising and bidding.

An update on the project was given to the Finney County Commission and Garden City Commission at their joint meeting Monday.

Jeff Holste, civil engineer with Wilson & Company, said the project is still moving along. Right of way acquisition is now complete; however, some revision to the design needs to be done to the project because of the acquisition. He expects a quick turnaround on the design changes, about three weeks.

"After that, then the plans will be submitted to KDOT for review ... that process will generally take four to six weeks," he said.

Following the review, the next steps should be advertising the project for contractors in late May or early June, and then bidding on the project. However, before those begin, final financing needs to be taken care of, Holste said. There is a shortfall of about $750,000.

Holste said as of October the project cost was $2.96 million, which was projected in 2019, but since then it has increased by about $160,000, bringing the cost to $3.1 million.

Fundingwise, $1.5 million is coming from KDOT and about $953,000 is coming from a joint city and county economic development fund, Holste said. There was already a shortfall of about $500,000 as of October.

"The main update of that $160,000 additional cost is tied to two years' worth of timeline and updating for the project quantities and bid schedule costs," he said.

Holste said financing needs to be taken care of before the project is advertised, as there's a lot of risk without it.

"If we advertise a project and don't have the funding for it, don't get bids that are favorable and now we're canceling a project that we tied up $1.5 million in KDOT funds for five years," he said. "There's a transparency component there, a visibility issue that we want to make sure we maintain. KDOT's been a great partner in a lot of projects in the region, so that's something we really need to make sure we consider."

Lona DuVall, Finney County Economic Development Corporation president/CEO, said KDOT has been a great partner to the region in terms of economic development and road projects, so it would be a big deal to lose the funding for this project.

"When you get into politics and statewide planning, absolutely we don't stand nearly as tall as those communities in eastern Kansas who have a lot more representation in the Statehouse than we do," she said. "Population matters, and we have been nailed by that, but KDOT as a partner ... have been absolutely tremendous partners."