City rehabs Buffalo streets: plans for Flatiron Drive near completion

Bulletin photo by Floyd Whiting

Buffalo Public Works street crews have been working to get as many streets chip sealed as the season allows. With many streets and city parking lots already completed, Public Works Director Les Hook said they will continue to chip seal “until the leaves fall.”

Buffalo city streets are receiving a lot of improvement this season as the plans to improve Flatiron Drive through the use of a special purpose tax are finalized.

The city looks to begin the project this fall or at the latest this coming spring, said Les Hook, Buffalo public works director.

Flatiron Drive improvements are estimated to cost approximately $3.2 million, which excludes water and sewer, which was replaced a few years ago. It will be the first of three streets Buffalo plans to repair this year. Other roads to be repaired with sixth-penny revenue include West Fetterman Street from the intersection with Burritt Avenue to Fort Street, at an estimated cost of $3.1 million; Burritt Avenue from Angus Street to Fort Street, with an estimated cost of $761,000.

Flatiron Drive is in poor condition, littered with potholes and chunks of loose asphalt. But that’s changing thanks to Johnson County voters, who approved a 1 percent specific purpose tax that went into effect April 1.

The sixth-penny tax will be in place until $7.1 million is raised, at which time the tax will expire. County Treasurer Carla Bishop said she expects the tax to continue for about five years if sales tax collections remain consistent.

So far, approximately $520,088 has been collected, according to Bishop.

The tax will be collected and processed through the state offices and returned to the county. From there, the money will be placed in a specific fund and held until the city comes to collect it, Bishop said.

But the city plans on moving forward to get the streets replaced as soon as possible.

“Our plans are almost complete for it,” Hook said. “With the exception of Cinema Drive. We may put an extension of Cinema Drive onto Flagstaff. Which will give another egress.”

While the city is planning to perform complete reconstruction on a series of streets, they have been extending the life of others by chip sealing the surfaces.   

Public Works mixes their own asphalt at a hot-mix plant located in the eastern part of Buffalo. This season, Public Works will go through approximately 12,000 gallons of oil to mix the asphalt used during the chip seal operations.

Cemetery Road, the last block of South DeSmet Avenue at the Sesame Street intersection, West Brock, West Gatchell, Angus Street in front of the pool and Hogerson Street have all been chip sealed this year with more streets planned.

The Buffalo Municipal Golf Course, the Children’s Center, and the Buffalo Senior Center all received chip seal on their parking lots as well.

The streets that remain to be repaired are chosen by Hook and his team based on oil availability and workload.

“We’re getting some of them done,” Hook said. “We will continue to chip seal until the leaves fall.”

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