City to prioritize alley maintenance after snow, flooding delay work

Heavy snow and rounds of flooding in the last year have delayed projects for the City of St. Joseph including projects to maintain alleys.

Posted: Oct 10, 2019 4:48 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Heavy snow and rounds of flooding in the last year have delayed projects for the City of St. Joseph including projects to maintain alleys.

The city's director of public works, Andy Clements, says that alley maintenance projects have been delayed for 10 months because of an early winter and prolonged flooding.

"It's been a hard year," he said. "It's been a really hard year."

The year beginning with snow and heavy precipitation which has caused the city's alleys to fall into poor condition.

"Alleys are in really poor condition," Clements said. "They are never in good shape ever."

Alleys across St. Joseph are located on private property so city officials are not required to maintain them and do not have funds set aside to do the work.

"We have no set aside funding for alleys so we just try to get that done as best we can," Clements said. "As a service. It's not really a funded operation like street maintenance."

The city will not provide materials to maintain alleys but will use their equipment to spread the rock. It is up to the residents to provide the material to do the work.

Each year, the city spends around $200,000 on labor, gas, and equipment for alley maintenance but this year has been a different story.

"The typical window we use to do alley maintenance, with the weather and the flooding, was basically eliminated," Clements said. "We just didn't have that window."

And now crews are behind.

On Monday, a St. Joseph resident brought up this issue at the City Council meting and now the city is making changes.

"What we are doing effective Monday is we are shutting down all of our asphalt programs," Clements said.

These will delay programs but crews will be working against the clock to get alleys repaired.

"We are going to get as far down the list as we can before the snow starts flying," Clements said.

To report an alley that needs maintenance, contact the city at 816-271-4848.

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Temperatures today were above normal across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. A south wind pushed temperatures into the mid to upper 50s.
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