“There were contractor staffing shortages and supply shortages, and in the districts where projects did get completed, it was because they were already underway,” said Erin Jones, spokesperson for Houston Public Works.
Progress varied widely between districts. District D, which covers Third Ward, Sunnyside and much of South Houston, for example, saw 88 lane miles of improvements completed within the fiscal year.
District E, however, which covers the Clear Lake, Kingwood and Lake Houston areas saw 0.6 lane miles of improvements completed. The public works department originally planned to cover 28 lane miles in District E.
The discrepancies were caused by a number of factors, Jones said. In some districts, including District D, several projects were already underway and close to completion prior to fiscal year 2020-21. In District E, more of the roadways are made from concrete than asphalt. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, concrete supply issues had a disproportionate effect on the district, Jones said.
“They will get an increased allotment for the next fiscal year as well,” she said.
As the city moves forward with the initiative, incomplete projects were rolled over to FY 2021-22, which began July 1.