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Road projects delayed by rain

By Moses Leos III

A record 18 days of rainfall in May has led to some delays in Kyle’s quest to complete a majority of its Goforth Road reconstruction project.

While City Engineer Leon Barba said the project is still on schedule, the city is fighting to ensure the project is completed prior to August and the start of the 2016 school year.

The reason is to avoid construction interfering with traffic in front of Fuentes Elementary next fall, Barba said. He added that finishing construction on Goforth is directly tied to the timeframes for the Bunton Creek and Lehman Road projects.

The city plans to start construction on Bunton Creek in September, while the city plans to let the Lehman Road project in March 2017. The Goforth Road project is scheduled for completion by March 2017.

“We don’t want everything under construction at the same time, because traffic circulation [in the area]then has nowhere to go,” Barba said. “We want some construction done on Goforth to be completed before we start tearing up the roadway.”

But two factors have led to some issues with the city finishing the Goforth project.

Barba said the city’s contractor on the Goforth project has “had problems with the rain.”

One factor has been installation of eight-foot box culverts, which Barba said requires a great amount of work. He said the city’s contractor installed five boxes per day, but that it is “slow.” The city plans to install box culverts as part of the Goforth road project.

“The weather has been slowing them down,” Barba said, 

Barba said the recent installation of culverts so far has alleviated drainage issues along the roadway.

“It’s already working, but we haven’t gotten to where we need to be,” Barba said. “It’s supposed to dry up next week, so we hope to pick up speed.”

But the city continues to have issues with clearing utility lines in the path of the project. JoAnn Garcia, Project Manager with the city of Kyle, said the city has come across unidentified utilities that “show up where there wasn’t supposed to be any utilities.”

Garcia said the lines belong to Verizon and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which are footing the bill for removal. A timeline for full utility removal for the Goforth project is not yet known.

Clearing up utilities has also been an issue along the Bunton Creek Road project, Garcia said, as the city has found “some surprises.”   

But the city is trying not to move “too fast” on starting the Bunton and Lehman projects at the same time, as per the wishes of Hays CISD.

“They didn’t want the Bunton and Goforth project all under construction at the same time,” Barba said. “We are trying to appease them and hopefully our Goforth contractor can have all four lanes in front of [Fuentes] finished by the end of August.”

Meanwhile, the city’s consultant on the Lehman Road project is “nearing completion” of plans, Garcia said. It comes after the Kyle City Council had asked staff in May to redesign plans for the Lehman project.

But Garcia said the redesign featured low water crossings that could handle floods at a lower frequency than expected.

The city had anticipated a five-year flood design on Lehman Road, but instead was only designed for two-year.   

“I’m a little disappointed to what they have been able to achieve …  because (the consultant) was down to a two year frequence in terms of structure,” Garcia said. “We were looking for five-year, but that’s not the case according to the numbers.”

Garcia said the city is currently in right-of-way acquisition phase with the Lehman Road project. She said the city must acquire 13 to 14 parcels of ROW of various size.

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