Johnson County approves $2 million rehab project for ‘high-risk’ sewer pipes under Ranch Mart

Photo credit: Prosser Wilbert Construction

Aging sanitary sewer pipes running beneath the RanchMart shopping center buildings pose a big enough risk to the center that the county will spend $2 million to reroute them.

Johnson County commissioners voted to spend $2 million to reroute the main lines under the center’s buildings at 95th Street and Mission Road.

County commissioners Thursday approved the project to head off potential problems if the aging pipes were to fail. RanchMart just passed its 60th birthday in July.

It’s unusual but not unheard of to find major sewer lines directly beneath buildings, said Aaron Witt, chief engineer, of the Johnson County Wastewater Department. It can sometimes happen when a business adds on to a building and the underlying sewer is not noticed, he said.

But it’s a potential problem because workers have a hard time accessing such lines for maintenance, Witt said. And a collapse of the line or other major failure could result in tearing out some of the building.

“It’s not ideal and definitely not common and when we come across them we want to address them,” he said.

The county has had its eye on the RanchMart sewer line in Leawood because of that. Witt said wastewater crews have done some past rehabilitation, but the line was considered high-risk. Rerouting will be the long-term solution. The northern part of the project, which runs just south of Cure of Ars Catholic Church and school, will veer west to run along Mission Road before heading back under the RanchMart parking lot. After crossing 95th Street, the line will jog east along Mohawk Lane before turning west again to head into neighborhoods south of West 95th Terrace.

The commission voted unanimously to move ahead with the project. As part of the package, it awarded the contract to Linaweaver Construction Inc., of Lansing, KS, for $1.6 million.