Metro & State

Pave­ment cracks, bike lane change are part of what has stalled work in South­east Austin.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By BenWear bwear@states­man.com

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

sink­ing.

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.

ALBERTO MARTíNEZ / AMER­I­CANS­TATES­MAN

Two-way traf­fic is squeezed while a new bridge on East Wil­liam Can­non Drive is de­layed.

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