Latest Burleson Street snag due to railroad crossing

When voters approved Kyle’s $35 million road bond election in 2013, they were long past ready for improvements to Burleson Street.

Especially for those shy of Interstate 35, Burleson affords an alternative north-south corridor. But it hasn’t been open in almost two years and the population of Kyle has grown considerably during that time.

Seven years after that bond election the project, which has been fraught by issues including weather, may still be on tap for completion around the original projected time. That said, the required documentation surrounding the latest snag is a traffic jam all its own.

Because the project involves crossing a Union Pacific Railroad line, it basically means going by the railroad’s rules. And the very specialized work of boring under a rail line requires  a very experienced but relatively rare type of contractor.

It takes “several months” for paperwork submitted by contractors to be processed, Project Engineer JoAnn Garcia said. The contractor selected for the bore submitted documents in the fall of last year, and has since been forced to take other jobs to keep employees on the payroll. “He should have started about a month and a half ago,” Garcia said. “Now he has to finish the jobs he started. We’re on his schedule,” she said, once those other obligations have been met.

If a new contractor were selected, Garcia said they would have to start the whole process over, something that’s complicated since UPRR recently changed its own processes.

City Engineer Leon Barba, however, had a different take. In his brief to the city council June 2, Barba acknowledged the situation and said the city may look at a different contractor because of the delay. Overall, he said the Burleson Street Project is 83 percent complete and a French drain is currently being installed to alleviate “distress” along parts of the road due to groundwater.

The project’s completion date is August of this year. Garcia said Burleson is a “major collector” with an average daily traffic of about 8,000 vehicles. The project will widen Burleson Street to 38 feet as it connects to the Interstate 35 southbound access road. In all, it encompasses 7,500 linear feet of roadway.

Actual boring is estimated to take three to four weeks. After that is done, an additional three to four weeks will be required for paving.

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