February 2017 Update
The contractor continues this month to work on underground storm drain and utility work on the east side of the roadway. The nature of this work is such that it is concentrated in specific locations, therefore activity is not seen throughout the entire corridor. Required sound walls have also started to go up. The contractor is nearing completion on the drainage and utility work and expects to begin preparing for paving activities, with grading work and subgrade preparation starting later this month. The project remains on schedule and is anticipated to be completed in early 2018, barring any significant weather delays. Watch the project update given during the February 13 City Council Meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost for this project? How is the project funded?
The construction contract awarded for this project is $12,134,407. The bulk of the project is funded by a Federal Grant, which covers approximately 80% of the construction costs with the City covering the remainder. There are some project items that are not eligible for this reimbursement, like water lines and street lights for instance, but they constitute a small portion of the work.
What was the bidding process? How many contractors submitted bids?
Because this project was funded through Federal Grants, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) was assigned the task of ensuring that the bidding process, design and construction is compliant with Federal Standards. Federal standards are stringent and require several steps to be followed throughout the bidding, design and construction process. The project was advertised for bid in November 2015, and bids were opened on December 18, 2015. Three bids were received ranging in price from $12,134,407 to $13,709,537.
How was the contractor vetted and selected? Who made this selection?
Per the terms of the contract documents required by TxDOT, the lowest responsive qualified bidder is selected. Before a bidder is determined to be qualified, TxDOT requires that bidders to be pre-qualified through evaluation of their financial health, construction capability, and bonding capacity.
What is the project time line and why is it so long?
The project began in May 2016, and is anticipated to last 21 months. The contract is set up to allot the contractor 427 working days to complete the work. Although the physical length of the project is relatively short at 1.25 miles, roadway widening in heavily traveled corridors is multi-faceted. In order to maintain traffic capacity, the project has to be constructed in three phases, with two travel lanes in both the north and southbound directions to be maintained throughout the project duration. The number of phases is dictated by the available width of the roadway right-of-way. Before each phase of the paving is placed, the underground utility and drainage work has to be installed, meaning these underground pipe networks are also installed in phases, buried and then re-excavated to be connected to. The fastest method to construct this project would be to completely close Rufe Snow to traffic during construction, but that would not be convenient. For this project we wanted a balance between speed of construction and impact to the travelling public.
When will the work be finished?
Current completion estimate is late February 2018, barring any significant weather delays.
Is something in the contract about finishing on a certain deadline or an incentive to finish early?
There are no early completion incentives, but there are penalties built into the contract for failure to complete the work in the allotted number of work days.
Why aren’t there more workers on this project?
Within the project timeline, neither the City nor TxDOT has the ability to dictate exactly what is being done on any given day, and how many workers must be present. Ultimately they are accountable to finish the scope of the work, built to the standards and specifications within the contract, all within the allotted time. Within those guidelines the contractor is free to choose his “means and methods” by which to perform the work.
January 2017 Update
Progress is continuing on the Rufe Snow Drive improvements project north of Mid Cities Boulevard. The work that has taken place over the past several months involves water line relocation and storm drain installation along the eastern side of the roadway. This includes roughly 6,000 feet of water line lowering and storm drain installation. The nature of this work is such that it takes place in specific locations, which is why you are not seeing workers throughout the entire corridor at the same time. With this underground work nearing completion in the next few weeks, the contractor will soon begin preparing the work zone for paving of the two easternmost northbound travel lanes.
July 10, 2016 Update
Beginning this week motorists will see lanes shifted on Rufe Snow Drive, between Mid Cities Boulevard and Ridgetop Road. There will continue to be two driving lanes in each direction, however dedicated turn lanes will not be available while the roadway is being reconstructed. Also, please note that the speed limit has been reduced from 40 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour in the Rufe Snow construction zone. Please reduce your speed and watch for workers when traveling in this area.
July 1, 2016
Work has begun on a project to widen and improve Rufe Snow Drive between Mid-Cities Boulevard and Ridgetop Road. Motorists can expect lane closures and delays when traveling in this area. The project will rebuild and expand the existing five-lane roadway to seven lanes (three travel lanes in each direction plus a center turn lane) and provide sidewalks along both the east and west sides of the roadway. Intersection and storm drainage improvements will also be made. The work is being performed by Kodiak Trenching and Boring and is expected to be complete by mid-2018. Motorists are urged to slow down and obey warning signs when travelling in the area. This project is funded in large part through federal grants, with the City paying approximately 20% of construction costs. Questions may be directed to the Public Works Department at 817-427-6400.