City races to finish roadwork before new school year begins

The race to complete Goforth and Bunton Creek roads in east Kyle prior to the start of the 2017 Hays CISD school year is on for the city of Kyle and its construction crews.

But as both 2014 bond projects are winding down, Kyle will soon begin the process of reconstructing the much-maligned Lehman Road.

Leon Barba, Kyle city engineer, said the city’s Goforth Road project, which runs from I-35 to Bunton Creek Road, is 83 percent complete, with the city using roughly 90 percent of the time allotted for the project.

According to the contractor’s schedule, Goforth Road is expected to be complete by July.

Barba said the city has used 55 rain days on the project, which is why the city is nearing its time allocation.

Kyle’s improvements on the recently renamed Philomena Drive are “substantially completed,” Barba said. The next step in the process is getting a traffic signal at the intersection of Philomena and Bunton Creek Road to begin operations, which is expected to start in less than two weeks.

While the Philomena Drive project did have two change orders, Barba said the city has kept the improvements under budget by .04 percent.

Overall, the city has used 2.3 of the 5 percent contingency built into the five road bond projects, Barba said.

During public comment June 20, Tony Spano, a representative of the Kyle Chamber of Commerce, updated the city council on how the chamber and the city are helping business owners with the transition to Philomena Drive.

Prior to the city making the change, Philomena, which is the road that runs in front of Fuentes Elementary in Kyle, was known as Goforth Road. The city changed the name in order to avoid confusion. 

He said the chamber has worked to ensure businesses were kept up to date on city workshops about the name changes. 

There are 17 businesses that will be affected by the name change, and the chamber contacted 16 of those face-to-face.

“At this point, everyone is pretty happy about this (name change),” Spano said. “We’re just communicating to them the need to attend the public workshops.”

But a critical project that must be completed is Bunton Creek Road, which is 71 percent complete, with only 53 percent of the time used. Barba said Bunton Creek as well as Goforth must be completed before the start of its $6 million Lehman Road reconstruction. The two roads will serve as detours for motorists during the Lehman Road construction.

However, a change order brought by the city’s contractor will bump the completion date of the road from July to September of this year.

Barba said the city was below the original contract price, but adding a 20-year design life on the roadway brought an additional cost.

In addition, the city plans to add to the Bunton Creek improvement a $150,000 project that was supposed to be constructed during the Lehman Road reconstruction and complete it during the Bunton Creek project.

The project calls for reconstructing the intersection that will connect Lehman to Bunton Creek. In order to do so, the city must bring Lehman Road from Brutus to Bunton Creek down to one lane.

Kyle’s focus is to complete the Bunton Creek project before the start of school.

“If the weather isn’t good, Bunton Creek Road may be one lane at times,” Barba said.

Plans are “substantially complete” with Lehman Road, with the city needing only two easements for utilities.

The city plans to start Lehman Road construction in the last part of 2017. Project manuals and plans are complete for Burleson Street improvements, from Miller to the I-35 frontage.

A “critical path item” is railroad construction. Barba said the city estimates letting the $9 million Burleson Street project in March 2018, but they will push it back as far as they can.

“We need to give (Union Pacific) six months head start to get going and build that crossing, so we don’t have our contractors held up,” Barba said.

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