KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The natural gas company Spire won’t be allowed to pull new work permits in Kansas City, Missouri, according to City Manager Brian Platt, until the utility company fixes the patches from work it did earlier this summer.
It comes after the city claims the utility company didn’t follow it’s policy through the Streets Preservation Program, which encourages coordination in construction schedules to get underground work done before new resurfacing projects, and lays out the types of fixes utility companies need to pay for when work does have to be done on newly repaved roads.
Linwood Boulevard was a bumpy, pothole nightmare to drive on before the city’s recent resurfacing initiative, dedicating funding to each council district, allowing it to determine community priorities for street resurfacing.
“We did a full resurfacing, curb to curb, the entire width of the street and for a couple miles here,” said Kansas City City Manager Brian Platt.
A few weeks after the work was done, Platt found some Spire workers ripping it up again. When they were done, they laid down a concrete patch in the middle of an asphalt road.
“Spire was well aware of this location and other locations around the city and still decided weeks after we had resurfaced this entire street, we had barely even put the paint down for the lanes in the street, to just excavate the whole thing,” Platt said. “When you cut into it, you can see that there are cracks and there are holes and there are gaps and what happens is water and debris gets in there.”
He says that will lead to potholes once the winter and spring roll through. He said the work also violated the city policy around how extensive the road repair needs to be after work like that is completed.
“The best way to keep your roads in good condition is not to cut into them right after you fix them,” said Platt.
Spire tells FOX4 it’s following the city’s rules but is still pledging to make the situation right.
“We’ve been working closely with the city inspector to identify what those areas of improvement that they have identified and we are going to rectify the issue in order to improve this process,” said Spire VP and GM of western Missouri Stephen Mills.
Until that work is done over the next few weeks, Platt said he holding up any new work permits Spire would submit.
Platt said utility companies might classify repairs as emergency work on newly resurfaced roads, which would not require the city’s approval. He thinks that’s what was done on Linwood Boulevard.
Regardless, Spire and the city say they’re working together to better coordinate underground work and resurfacing projects to prevent new roads from being destroyed. Platt said there are already multiple other resurfacing projects that are either being pushed back or otherwise modified to allow underground utility work to be completed before the new layer of asphalt is installed.
Platt said the word is getting out to companies that work in KCMO that the city will hold them to a new standard.
“Instances like this where we say, ‘Look, there is consequence to this sort of thing,’ makes people see that we’re serious about it,” Platt said.
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