Kyle road projects on the move

By Moses Leos III

A pair of roads included in Kyle’s $35 million dollar road bond initiative is in the process of moving forward. 

While the Burleson Street and Goforth Road reconstructions are under budget, an extension connecting Goforth to Kyle Parkway could add to the overall cost.

“I don’t know what to make of the extension, but at some point we have to do it,” Kyle Mayor Todd Webster said on the dais at the Sept. 16 city council meeting. “It’s going to happen sometime.”

On Sept. 16, Lockwood Andrews and Newnam (LAN) and Freese and Nichols presented design schematics for the Goforth and Burleson Projects to the Kyle City Council. By a 6-0 vote, council amended the bond contracts to allow both firms to proceed with right of way (ROW) surveying and acquisition. 

Bob Austin, project manager for the Goforth Road project at LAN, said “slivers” of land are needed for the project. He said despite attempts to fix the road in the existing ROW, “it simply will not fit.” 

JoAnn Garcia, project manager for the city of Kyle, said 71 feet of right of way is needed for the project in some areas. Currently, the narrowest ROW is 52 feet wide. 

The 1.2-mile Goforth road project will widen the road to three and four lanes. The expansion would accommodate the rapidly increasing traffic volume. Based on projections from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Austin said Goforth is projected to see traffic grow from 8,000 to 15,000 cars per day by 2020. 

While no residential landowners will be affected, LAN would have to attain ROW from undeveloped properties near Fuentes. 

“Undeveloped doesn’t mean they won’t charge,” Mayor Pro-Tem Diane Hervol said during the meeting. 

Kyle City Engineer Leon Barba was unsure what the final cost would be to acquire the ROW. Based on the current schematic, LAN projects to spend $753,900 on ROW surveys, appraisals and land cost. 

Despite the uncertainty, Austin said the project is on schedule for its July 2015 timeline. It’s also $657,051 under the $9.8 million budget. 

In addition, council also directed staff to begin the engineering process for a .71 mile extension connecting Goforth to Kyle Parkway. 

Kyle interim City Manger James Earp said the idea for the extension has “floated around” for some time. He brought the idea back to council on Sept. 16. 

“If there was a time to punch Goforth to Kyle Parkway, now is the time to do it,” he said. 

However, still undecided is how to foot the bill for the extension’s $1.26 million price tag. Earp said the city is exploring “options” to do that. One could be the use of savings from the Goforth project. 

Kyle’s second major project would widen Burleson Street along several areas. But several factors, according to Barba, will create challenges. Acquiring 4,135 square-feet of ROW between Lockhart Street and a potential intersection with Kyle Marketplace is a major obstacle affecting 11 residential parcels of land. 

Garcia said Freese and Nichols, the firm heading the Burleson Street project, plans equal amounts of ROW on each side. The max width wouldn’t extend beyond nine feet past the existing ROW.  

“It shouldn’t infringe on homes,” Garcia said. 

The city may have to upgrade and possibly move 3,500 long feet of water line to avoid conflicts. Roughly 1,500 feet of wastewater line could also be affected. 

In addition, the city must coordinate the widening with the Union Pacific Railroad. According to Garcia, the railroad must review and approve the city’s plans prior to completion. 

That plan includes changing the crossing guards, along with the addition of a “quiet zone” — a buffer that prevents motorists from passing the crossing guards. Garcia said Union Pacific will complete many of the railroad improvements itself. 

It will all have to be done with a minimal contingency. Roughly $300,000 is allocated for both projects. 

Barba said contingencies depend on the complexity of the project and the comfort level of the engineer. 

“Hopefully we’ll make it within that estimate,” Barba said. 

Construction on Goforth is slated to begin in June 2015 with completion in January 2016. Burleson Street construction is scheduled to begin in February 2016 with completion in August 2017. 

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