Danedri Thompson
[email protected]

The at-grade railroad crossing at the intersection of Moonlight Road and Main Street has improved, city engineer Celia Duran told council members during a work session on June 13.

“It’s better than it was, but it’s still not great,” Duran said. City officials will be working with BNSF, the company that owns the rail, and closed the Moonlight and Main intersection last week for upgrades, in the hopes of securing even smoother travel for vehicles at the crossing.

Improvements to the intersection are an ongoing project that included a city undertaking to widen lanes and create turn lanes. Initially scheduled for completion in November 2010, the project continues.

Amino Brothers, general contractor for the project, filed a request for additional funding when a KCPL duct bank wasn’t relocated adequately. The city is in the process of filing for liquidated damages against the contractor due to the moving target for completion.

Duran explained that because the Kansas Department of Transportation funded a portion of the project, the highway department selected general contractor Amino Brothers. A mediation process to resolve the additional funding created by delays is ongoing.

“They’re going to say we delayed their project,” Duran said. “But we think we’ve already made our case.”

After three mediation sessions with KDOT, the contractor and the city, the issue still isn’t resolved. However, KDOT requested that the road be opened by November 2010 and the project be fully completed sometime in spring 2011.

In the meantime, Amino Brothers requested a revised project schedule last March with a completion date of June 12. The contractor requested another 21 days with an estimated completion date of July 3.

Once the project is completed, a city contracted firm, TransSystems Corp., will inspect the project. Due to the delays, however, the company is requesting supplemental contract of $39,000 to $68,000 for full-time inspection between now and completion of the project.

Duran said despite the repeated delays, the city is still $250,000 to $300,000 beneath project estimates. The wide discrepancy in estimated costs is based on the unknown completion date. The longer the project continues, the more costly for TransSystems, Duran explained.

Council members will be asked to approve a supplemental contract not to exceed $68,000 at a later meeting.

In other business, council members:

Heard the preliminary findings of the city’s Direction Finder survey.

Discussed internal service funds including Risk Management Services, Building Services and Information Technology Services for the proposed 2012 budget.