Metro & State
Pavement cracks, bike lane change are part of what has stalled work in Southeast Austin.
Pavement cracks and changes for bicycle lanes are among the challenges that have delayed completion of two road projects.
Southeast Austin drivers, who have looked on in frustration as two almost completed road projects sit idle, will have to wait a bit longer for them to be finished.
Work crews have left both a new bridge on East William Cannon Drive near South Pleasant Valley Road and, about a mile to the north, a project that would connect South Pleasant Valley to Todd Lane. City of Austin officials say the bridge should finally open in a couple of months.
The connection to Todd Lane could be close to a year away.
The William Cannon project, a $4 million job to add an eastbound, three-lane bridge over Onion Creek, began in the summer of 2011 and was supposed to be finished in August.
But in the project’s final stages, officials noticed cracks in the pavement near a drainage inlet at the bridge’s western end, city project manager YueJiao Jiu said. The problem, Jiu said, was that a 15-foot-long storm sewer was
Workers had to remove the storm sewer, recompact the soil beneath it, reinstall the sewer and then repair the pavement. The cost was about $230,000, she said.
The city and the contractor are still discussing who will cover that cost, Jiu said.
The eastbound bridge — two-way traffic is now using the westbound bridge, which was completed several years ago — would have opened shortly after that, but the city’s bicycle office decided that the bike lanes on the bridge should be 8 feet wide rather than 6 feet, the previous design. Then, in late October, when crews were ready to stripe the bridge (including the westbound side), Jiu said, the city’s right-of-way management staff was busy with projects related to the Formula One race and the William Cannon work had to be delayed once again.
Jiu said she hopes the striping can be done, and the bridge opened, by the end of January.
The second project, which will give Southeast Austin a continuous north-south artery from East Ben White Boulevard to Onion Creek Drive, won’t fully open until late next year.
And last week, there were no workers along the four lanes of the nearly completed project.
The quarter-mile, $5.3 million section of South Pleasant Valley should be complete by April to East St. Elmo Road, said Clay Harris, project manager of the Todd Lane project.
The city plans to build a roundabout where Todd Lane, Pleasant Valley Road, St. Elmo Road will come together.
Workers at that point will connect the new fourlane road to Todd. But the connection will be short lived.
The city plans to build a roundabout where Todd, Pleasant Valley and St. Elmo will come together and to expand Todd from two to three lanes in the half-mile from St. Elmo to Ben White (Texas 71).
That $9.6 million project is set to begin in June or July, said city Public Works Department project manager Clay Harris.
During the four months or so it will take to build that roundabout, that new connection will be closed, Harris said. Only when that roundabout work is done, by late 2013, will drivers get permanent access to the new section of South Pleasant Valley.
Two-way traffic is squeezed while a new bridge on East William Cannon Drive is delayed.