Engineer: Bonita Vista reconstruction ahead of schedule

Work on repairing four streets in Buda's Bonita Vista neighborhood began two months ago and is nearly halfway complete, the project engineer said Nov. 12 at a City Council meeting.

Allen Crozier, with engineering firm HDR, said the $2.9 million project is ahead of schedule and could be done before the deadline of June 5.

"The contractor is doing a fantastic job," Crozier said. "They have exceeded our expectations."

Contractor Capital Excavation was awarded the project in August. Construction began on Sept. 8.

The roads were first reconstructed in 2007, but large cracks appeared six months later, Mayor Todd Ruge said. After a long legal process in which the city of Buda ended up on the losing side of a Hays County jury's verdict, the council prioritized repairing the roads in its 2013–14 budget process.

But the bidding process took longer than the city anticipated, and the project was carried over to the 2014–15 budget, Ruge said.

More than $3.4 million in debt was issued to fund the effort. About $2.64 million is designated to the project in the 2014–15 budget.

Crozier said construction is progressing quickly with a temporary detour to Pinafore Street and Rebel Drive completed. Pavement on the eastern side of Bonita Vista Drive, Las Cruces and El Secreto streets has been milled and removed. Steel reinforcement and concrete pavement on the eastern side of the roadways has also been placed, he said.

Construction on the western side of Bonita Vista, Las Cruces and El Secreto is expected to be done by December while Casa Loma is expected to be reconstructed in January, according to a presentation Crozier gave at the Nov. 12 meeting.

Contingency funds for the project total about $400,000. Possible changes to plans include replacing all sidewalks on Las Cruces, Casa Loma and El Secreto, the presentation stated. However, no additional work will be done unless city staff recommends it.

Mayor Todd Ruge said he has not received any calls or emails from Bonita Vista residents about the construction project, which he took as a sign they are pleased with the work.

"They have been very patient with us through this process," Ruge said. "We can really see the light at the end of the tunnel. The news that—fingers crossed—this could be completed ahead of schedule is fantastic news."