The following guest column from City Manager Brian Maxwell regarding the 45th Street project ran in today's edition of the Galveston County Daily News:
"I appreciate the concerns surrounding the 45th Street project and wanted to update residents as to the history of the project and its current status. This project is a voter-approved, bond-funded improvement to completely reconstruct 45th Street. It has been decades since this last occurred. Much of the infrastructure beneath the street was deteriorating, with demonstrated failures at the surface.
The original notice to proceed was March 2019 and was to be a 365-day project. Before proceeding, the city made the decision to change the final surface to concrete as costs came in offering a better value and the material is more durable. This took the project to 455 days, bringing the original estimated completion date to June of 2020. This doesn’t include rain days, which are added at the end of the project. Thus far, rain delays have been substantial and are not one for one, as post heavy rains it takes several days to get the site back into condition to continue work.
In addition to the change to concrete, there have been two other change orders, with only one adding time to the project. The first change order came in July 2019 for an adjustment to a water line, and the second came in October 2019. The October change order was estimated to add 180 days to the project. The water line didn’t impact schedules. This brought the proposed final project date to early 2021 as mentioned in previous articles, again excluding rain days. The 2021 date is the closeout date, meaning decorative lights and landscape items complete. The street itself will be complete much earlier, and parts are already poured.
The October 2019 change order came about once demolition of the street occurred and it was discovered that at some point in the distant past, other utilities had impacted the drainage system shown on all city-engineered drawings. The decades-old original plans for 45th Street showed a continuous drain line running down the center of the street. This line was compromised at some point in the past and two small metal corrugated bypasses installed in its place. None of this was documented in any plans at the city or by any utility that may have done the work.
This discovery left the city with two options. We could simply continue to pave over the deteriorating and inadequate metal lines that had suffered from saltwater inundation for years or we could complete the project correctly. That would include properly sized concrete drain lines to better serve the area and also work in tandem with future pump station projects. The city chose the latter, which required some engineering and the longest part of the 180 days being the actual ordering and receipt of the reinforced concrete pipe. This work is now nearly complete.
After the drain line change order, the city has taken several steps to shorten the project, and given good weather we hope to expedite the project. The city has allowed the contractor to perform longer pours, speeding the process, and is also looking at using faster-curing materials allowing street use much sooner. We’re hopeful that this could shave two to three months off the overall project.
The city is aware of the inconveniences these type of projects cause residents and businesses alike. They rely upon this corridor, and we’re doing all we can to expedite the project and work with any residents to lessen the impacts.
Galveston is a very old city. Each project brings new discoveries, and it’s not uncommon in mature cities such as ours to experience these types of issues. Our contracted engineers do all they can to avoid them and will continue to do so on future projects.
We appreciate your patience as we work toward a better Galveston and look forward to a new and improved 45th Street corridor." -- Brian Maxwell