Construction on Calder Road is now months behind schedule and facing continued delays due to the city’s wastewater contractor, S.J. Louis Construction of Texas, Inc.
“The Calder Road initiative is a series of projects (i.e., water line, wastewater line, utility relocations, and road reconstruction) that has taken way too long and it’s not fair to our citizens who utilize the road to access their homes and nearby businesses,” said John Baumgartner, Deputy City Manager. “The wastewater project is nearly six months behind schedule and we are pressing our national contractor, S.J. Louis Construction of Texas, to move this project along and bring it to completion so we can begin the reconstruction of Calder Road from Ervin Street to League City Parkway.”
Calder Road’s initial phase to rehabilitate the water line began in January 2014 and re-opened for use in August 2014.
The second phase, the installation of a 30-inch wastewater line, began in February 2016 with an estimated completion date of June 2016. Installation of the wastewater line was thought to be complete in September 2016; however, inspection by city officials identified construction deficiencies within the line.
“Staff identified inconsistencies in regards to the grade of the wastewater line when we were completing the acceptance testing in September,” said Baumgartner. “The line was holding water between manholes in a few locations which could cause sediment build-up (and thereby maintenance issues) in the line and needed to be corrected prior to acceptance by the City.”
S.J. Louis Construction, along with their bonding company, was notified of the issue in September 2016. The notification included a request for them to develop a plan and schedule to correct the issue.
“Our contractor has been given every opportunity to complete the project awarded to them by the city,” said Baumgartner. “In mid-September, after discussions with S.J. Louis Construction, we estimated the adjustments to the affected pipe and manholes would take another 60 to 90 days. It’s nearly 90 days later and our contractor still has one more location to adjust and then retest the line. We anticipate this work being completed by early-January 2017.”
A portion of the east side of the roadway was damaged as a result of the construction. Therefore, the repairs are required to be made by S.J. Louis Construction as a part of the project.
Furthermore, reconstruction of the roadway – the last phase of this initiative – cannot begin until the wastewater line issues are addressed.
“We have an obligation to ensure our residents are receiving the quality of work they are paying for,” said Baumgartner. “We understand the frustrations and concerns of our residents who are most impacted by these delays. It is unfortunate that addressing the sewer line deficiencies and repairs to Calder Road are likely going to take longer than we originally anticipated.”
The city issued a notice today to S.J. Louis Construction demanding completion of the project by Jan. 9, 2017 at the direction of the city manager. If the deficiencies and repairs are not completed by the established deadline, the city will request on Jan. 10, 2017 the contractor’s bonding company step in and get the project finished.
“Contractually, we are in a difficult position of trying to get the contractor to complete their obligations,” said Baumgartner. “If we ask the bonding company to step in and finish the project, this will likely add more time and cause more frustration to our residents. And, if we ask S.J. Louis Construction to step aside and let us finish the project awarded to the contractor, we are not being consistent with the contract or due process and expose the city to other financial issues.
We are hopeful S.J. Louis will complete the deficiencies and repairs by the deadline so our roadway contractor to get started and also allow the new developments and businesses to connect to the sewer by the end of January. More importantly, we apologize for delay and appreciate the patience of all of the weary travelers that have been impacted by this construction.”
Once the roadway contractor begins, the gas line on the west side of the roadway will be relocated along with the placement of storm sewers along the roadway.
Calder Road, when completed, will include a three-lane concrete road, curb, gutter, and underground storm sewer. This will replace a worn out rural roadway that functions as a quasi-collector arterial road meant to connect businesses and neighborhoods to the state highway system.
Roadway construction is anticipated to take approximately 18 months from the day they start.