Cedar Park City Council questions East Whitestone project delays

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During their Feb. 25 meeting, Cedar Park City Council members questioned city staffers why the finish date for an East Whitestone Boulevard project has been postponed.

City senior engineering associate Alan Green told council that the project, originally scheduled to be completed this spring, has been delayed five months and is now set for an August finish date. The city has budgeted $22 million for the project but will receive 80 percent of the project’s actual construction costs back from the Texas Department of Transportation a year after the work is finished.

Green said TXDOT, which is administering the project, notified the city that the project contractor requested an additional $605,836.50 to compensate for delays in the form of a change order. However, the project remains under budget, he told the council.

Council members approved the order, but several members said they wanted to know more.

Green said the delays were partially caused by flawed initial designs for a storm sewer and a retaining wall. An original design for a bridge deck elevation also had to be redesigned, he said.

Some designs for utilities conflict with the existing infrastructure, which was shown on an existing map but at the incorrect elevation, Green said.

Assistant City Manager Sam Roberts said the city may recoup some of the total costs from the project’s designer.

“We think a lot of these items that are costing additional money were items that should have been caught in the design,” Roberts said. “[But] we need to keep the project moving forward.”

The pass-through project is widening East Whitestone from four to six lanes between Market Street and Sam Bass Road. Crews will add longer right-turn lanes as well as reconstruct the intersection of East Whitestone and Ronald Reagan Boulevard/Parmer Road into a partial-continuous flow intersection which requires some left-turning drivers to use separate lanes.

Green and Roberts said they do not foresee other project delays in the future.

“That’s not to say nothing will happen,” Roberts said. “But as far as we can tell, we’ll get this done by August.”

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Stephen Burnett has been a community journalist since 2005. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in November 2013. For the cities of Cedar Park, Leander and northwest Austin, he covers city and county government, business, development, events, transportation, utilities and more.
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