Street construction update

The first post on this blog describes Burleson Heights as a quiet neighborhood, but that wasn’t the case for more than a year while a city-sponsored project added storm sewers and replaced utility poles, water lines, curbs, driveway aprons and streets. Work wrapped up in late July, and at last, we have our quiet neighborhood back.

Rick Colbrunn, this project’s manager in the city’s Public Works Dept., gave me an update on the project yesterday. He will walk the neighborhood this morning with a city inspector, a consulting engineer with Halff & Associates and a representative from contractor Aaron Concrete. Any problems or items overlooked in the project will be put on a punch list that Aaron has to address before the city will issue a letter of acceptance. Once accepted, the project will move into a one-year warranty period.

Once the project is under warranty, unless someone calls to report a problem, the neighborhood will not be inspected until the end of the one-year period. The contractor is responsible for repairs during that time, so call Public Works to report cracks in pavement or damage to personal property before the warranty period is up.

The city requires 95% of disturbed areas to be revegetated, but much of the sod that was replaced along curbs is struggling in the drought, even though the contractor has been watering daily. If most of the grass in a yard looks healthy but the new sod does not, it will be replaced. If all the grass in a yard is stressed because a resident is not watering, the new sod will not be replaced. Soon, when the project is accepted by the city, the contractor will stop watering and residents will be responsible for maintaining the new sod.

And though the street was engineered to last 20 years, already small cracks have been appearing in the new asphalt. That’s a result of the extreme heat and drought this summer, which is causing street problems throughout the city. Narrow cracks are normal in these conditions, but cracks wide enough to trap a bicycle tire, like those we used to have, should not happen with this new road surface, Colbrunn said. However, dry soil is causing some curbs to tip backward into yards, opening gaps between the concrete curbs and asphalt road surface. Crews have been sealing cracks with tar to keep water from penetrating the road base and doing more damage, so if you see cracking, report it.

And a note on curbs and driveway aprons: Decisions about what sections would be replaced were made by the consulting engineer, which was hired by Street & Bridge, the city’s sponsor for this project, Colbrunn said. Replacing all curbs wasn’t in the budget, though many people involved in the project wanted to. Still, some curbs disintegrated once the asphalt that had been holding the concrete in place was removed, and the city replaced more curbs and driveway aprons than originally planned (2,851 linear feet of curbing planned, 5,540 linear feet replaced; 10,220 sq. ft. of aprons planned, 13,746 sq. ft. replaced). If you know of damaged sections, contact Colbrunn of Public Works soon, and staff will determine whether it needs replacing and whether there’s enough money left in the budget. The project has used almost the total amount allocated, which was funded by a 2006 bond election.

And technically, there’s one last thing to do before this project is complete. A section of storm drain still needs to be installed along 70 feet between the end of Ware Road and Country Club Creek. See the next post on the creek project for details.

Who to contact
Colbrunn is our contact for almost all things project-related, but if you have damage to personal property, you should go through the contractor and file a claim.

Rick Colbrunn, city’s project manager
City of Austin Public Works

Dale Deeten, contractor’s project manager
Aaron Concrete
926-7326, ext. 307


About burlyheights

C. Forrest is a longtime resident of Burleson Heights.
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