Capital Excavation was one of two companies to submit bids on the project in advance of council's meeting. Pflugerville City Council rejected a bid on the project Jan. 26 because the city had only received one bid at a higher price than the city's project cost estimate. The city's engineer estimated a $3.36 million sticker price; officials attributed portions of the heightened bid costs to pandemic-related construction inflation.
Intersection improvements include a displaced left-turn lane, an intersection component meant to provide congestion relief without expanding the right of way, according to a city news release. The displaced left-turn lane relocates turning traffic into a dedicated lane on the opposite side of the road.
Jennifer Butcher with Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers Inc., the design firm behind the project, said the intersection will be much like one already in place in Cedar Park.
The city of Pflugerville received a $2.3 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant via the federal CARES Act. Additional funding sources include the Pflugerville Community Development Corp., traffic impact analysis funds, certificate of obligation bonds and the city's general fund, per the release.
The current operational performance of the intersection is reported at Level F, the lowest level on an A-F grading scale, City Engineer Patricia Davis said. The city's design manual states the acceptable level of service for a city intersection is Level D.
Council Member Mike Heath voiced strong criticism toward the project, particularly with regard to future upgrades yet to be made to the intersection. He said he worries this project, which was described by city officials as an interim intersection improvement to help provide more immediate relief, is a multimillion-dollar "throwaway project."
Assistant City Manager Amy Giannini said a more complete analysis of the FM 685 corridor was part of the transportation bond package voters approved in November.
“This is going to be a phased project," Giannini said. "I do recognize there will be some realignment with the ultimate section, but this will buy us time, and this will provide improvement until we are able to get the full project on the ground.”
Intersection improvements are anticipated to be completed by November, staff said. For more information on the intersection improvements and additional capital improvement program projects, click here.