KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City kicked off a massive road improvement and resurfacing plan Thursday morning. In the rain, Mayor Quinton Lucas, City Manager Brian Platt and other leaders promised a brighter future.
“For years and years, the people of Kansas City have been talking about our road conditions, have been concerned with our road conditions,” Lucas said.
Crews started resurfacing the first of 240 miles of pavement near 50th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City’s Blue Hills neighborhood. While it’s the first of nearly $30 million in street improvements budgeted in the upcoming fiscal year, leaders said it’s something that should have been happening all along.
“We talk about a lot of things in local government, but one of the basics we’re supposed to provide is good infrastructure. Good infrastructure in every neighborhood so you can get to work, so you can make sure you’re taking care of your family’s safety,” Lucas said.
This time, leaders said they’re taking a new approach. The repairs won’t be focused on certain areas of the city; instead, the plan is to work on the worst streets first.
“We’re taking a community-based, equitable approach to how we’re doing this. We’re not just focusing these efforts in one neighborhood. We’re focusing on all neighborhoods,” Platt said.
“We’re making sure we’re using data and technology to ensure that the streets that are in the worst condition are at the top of the priority list. But also that we’re reaching out to communities and looking for resident feedback on what streets bother them the most and what communities have been underserved year after year,”
The priority list will include a variety of options. The city will look at the condition of the street, the traffic volume, community input and other factors. It’s something that many people said they’ve waited to hear for years.
“This is so important. Over the years we have heard time and time again promises that a focus would be made on the $2 billion deferred maintenance costs,” said Bridgette Williams, executive director of the Heavy Constructors Association. “Finally it’s happening.”
The city released a map of planned street projects, which will also allow the public to track the progress. It also explains more about how streets are chosen for resurfacing.