One of the most common questions asked each week is:
"When will the project at Fredericksburg and Medical begin?"
Well, here's the answer: This summer.
Here's the skinny....
A year and a half ago, we began preparing to move forward with the contract with Ballenger Construction as the low bidder. However, a slew of utility adjustments delayed the start of the project until fall of 2012. By then, some issues with the financial viability of Ballenger had become apparent, and District Engineer Mario Medina stepped in with some stipulations before giving the contractor a notice to proceed (fancy official document giving the contractor permission to start working).
That was September. By November, the company had filed for bankruptcy, putting question marks on the schedules of more than $500 million in construction projects state-wide. Those projects that had started - including three in San Antonio - fell into the control of the contractor's bonding company (like an insurance company for construction companies). Because the "Fred-Med" project hadn't been started, it reverted back to TxDOT control.
After about three months' worth of realigning all the proper paperwork, the project was re-let (meaning we put it out for more bids). The apparent low bidder is Texas Sterling Construction.
What does that mean? Well, for now it means we're working out the details of the contract. That typically takes more than a month (it's been just over a month at this point) and then the contractor takes some time to mobilize their forces before starting work.
If all goes well, it means we'll be into Fred-Med sometime late this summer. Once we have a more firm date, we'll broacast it from the hospital-tops. And, with a 24-month work schedule, it means we're looking at a completion date of late 2015 (assuming all goes well, of course).
So that's where we're at with the Fred-Med project. Hopefully, that clears some things up!