Construction on the Rock Island Shared Use Path is expected to begin within the next four weeks following the awarding of the contract to Radmacher Brothers Excavating of Pleasant Hill.
Radmacher’s bid of $3.7 million came in $1.67 million under the engineer’s estimate of $5.37 million. A Federal Highway Administration grant will pay 80 percent of the cost. “The project savings will allow us to create a better overall asset for Jackson County,” Matt Davis, Rock Island Rail Authority Program Coordinator, said. “These savings could go into making the trail longer, improving trailheads or similar benefits.”
According to Davis, Radmacher also brings a great deal of experience to the project. They built about half of the Rock Island Spur of the KATY Trail, 27 miles - from Windsor to Chilhowee and also two projects for the city of Kansas City, the Little Blue Trace Extension and the Trolley Trail repair. “So they are a great contractor for this project with experience in trail building.”
The 6.4-mile section of the new trail will start on the south end at Jefferson Street in Southern Lee’s Summit, which is near the intersection of Jefferson and Scherer. The northern end is Brickyard Road, which is just south of 350 Highway and Noland Road. The first phase will include trailheads at Hartman Park, Paragon Star and Brickyard. A tunnel that runs under Bannister Road is included in this project and will be lighted. An old railroad bridge that crosses over the Little Blue River will also be rehabbed.
Davis said staff is working with Kansas City on trail connections on the north end of the corridor that will reach the Plaza, Zoo and the Indian Creek trail system. Staff is also working with a group of stakeholders on the south end with the goal of connecting to Pleasant Hill and the KATY trail. Additionally there will be a future connection to the Little Blue Trace which will reach to Independence as well as south to Longview Lake.
The county partnered with Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to purchase the 17.7 mile Rock Island Rail Corridor for $52 million in May of 2016. The corridor stretches from Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums south through Raytown and into Lee's Summit. Corridor planning and design has focused on preservation of the national rail network corridor’s integrity, most notably the railroad corridor’s unencumbered continuity, and on multi-modal transportation options.