City officials say additional funds are needed for construction engineering services to complete the Safe Route to School project, which began last August.
The Huntsville City Council will consider a budget amendment next week to use $129,000 of additional grant funds from the Texas Department of Transportation to cover engineering costs for the five-phase project expected to be fully complete by this fall.
The cost, according to TxDOT, is reimbursable through the existing Advanced Funding Agreements. Schaumberg and Polk, Inc., which designed four of the five phases for the project, is under contract for engineering and design.
Along with the budget amendment, Development Director Aron Kulhavy intends to amend the contract with Schaumberg and Polk to include construction engineering services.
The additional money would pay for periodic review of the project progress, clarifying Requests for Information from contractor Legends Landscape, suggesting field changes in the case of “unforeseen circumstances,” reviewing monthly pay requests from Legends Landscape and coordinating with TxDOT area and district offices to meet all the project requirements throughout the construction period.
Kulhavy said “substantial work” has been completed in Phase 5 of the project, along 7th Street leading up to Samuel W. Houston Elementary School. Nearly half of the work is completed along Avenue M in Phase 4. The project is scheduled for completion by October 2014.
City Council last May awarded a construction contract to Legends Landscape, LLC for $1.3 million to build sidewalks from five designated locations to schools. The project is partially funded through a grant from TxDOT, but the city determined that an outdated estimate was used for the cost of the sidewalks, which came up short and forced City Council with the decision of whether to continue with the project.
Council voted unanimously at the May 21 meeting to pay the more than $367,000 in total remaining costs for the project, including $228,000 in costs overrun for the sidewalk along Highway 190 leading to Huntsville Intermediate School.
The project, which the city has been working to complete since 2009, will fund sidewalk construction near Scott Johnson Elementary, Huntsville Intermediate, Mance Park Middle School, and Sam Houston Elementary.
The City Council in 2009 passed a resolution authorizing city staff to apply for five Safe Routes to School program grants offered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the TxDOT.
Lake Road, Avenue J sidewalks also require more funding
The construction bid for the Lake Road and Avenue J sidewalk projects exceeded the city’s available budget and additional engineering costs for construction support will be required.
If City Council approves the budget amendment on Tuesday, there would be an $18,000 decrease in the unallocated Street Capital Improvement Project fund to cover additional costs for engineering and construction.
The City Council could also authorize City Manager Matt Benoit to award a construction contract for the sidewalks worth $133,000 to Paving Design Plus, Inc.