Scheduling disputes lead to road paving over gas line installation in KCMO

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Scheduling disputes between contractors through the City of Kansas City resulted in new gas lines on Southwest Trafficway being covered up by new asphalt put down while work was still incomplete.

City leaders and residents are now concerned about how the issue will be fixed because taxpayer dollars were just used to pave the road and redo the gas pipes.

For weeks, Mears has been working on Southwest Trafficway laying down new gas pipes which required them to dig holes and cover with these steel plates. We spoke to one of their superintendents who claims overnight another contractor came through without notice and paved partially over -- or in some cases fully covered -- where they were working in the street, forcing them to dig it up in order to finish the job. That, the city claims, was a miscommunication.

George Baggett who lives off Southwest Trafficway showed KCTV how the gas lines running through his neighborhood were in need of repair.

“It’s going to be much safer because years ago I had a sewer line and waterline in need of replacement,” Baggett explained. “And there was a quarter-inch hole in the old mainline coming down through here. So, these are all ready to leak.”

He claims Mears has been working along Southwest Trafficway for weeks replacing other lines and sent out notices in advance of their work.

“They sent me an email maybe a month ago saying they were going to be here,” Baggett continued. “And I’m sure the neighbors got that too and they’re going to come down and replace these gas lines.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas posted on X calling this situation heartbreaking. Lucas said the city will investigate any waste caused by this. Mears however says they had no notice regarding the resurfacing project which went right over their steel plates, forcing them to dig through the new asphalt to get back to work.

“The contractor told us their work was complete,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “So we began our micro-resurfacing, and it ended up not being complete.”

Because the city enacted a law called “Street Resurfacing Regulation - 1″, taxpayers will not have to pay extra to have the road repaired again, since the contractor is responsible for fixing all spots they drill into.

“We require anyone who’s been cutting into a street that’s been resurfaced within the last five years to fully resurface each lane,” Platt added. “It also requires better below-ground and below-grade materials so that cut lasts a little bit longer.”

A Supervisor for Mears at the scene added they should still be done placing new gas pipes within three weeks depending on the weather.