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Monday, April 27

Fred-Med: an update

In the interest of candor, this project was scheduled to be delivered by the start of February. Stormy weather over the winter has contributed to delays on projects across the district, but isn't the only issue the contractor has dealt with on the Fred-Med project.

Since the bridge slide in November, Texas Sterling Construction has significantly outpaced the work of one of its subcontractors and had to pull some resources off the job. This issue has become a bigger issue since February and we are working toward a resolution.

Right now we are hopeful we can reach the realistic goal of having traffic on the lower-level through lanes of Medical Drive by mid-May. We have about seven weeks’ worth of work before we’re done with work on the Fredericksburg Road surface level.
Between now and completion, here’s a look at the remaining work to be done: 
  • The through lanes of Medical Drive are made of concrete paving. This work is being done this week and, if weather cooperates, could be wrapped up by mid-week.
  • A raised concrete median will divide the uphill and downhill traffic under Fredericksburg Road - that's concrete work that cannot be completed until the concrete paving is finished. It's not work that requires a long time to finish, but it does have some prerequisites. That should be underway next week.
  • Once the concrete work is done, paving crews will lay asphalt to tie in the new through lanes with the existing lanes of Medical Drive. This will take some time - and a string of good weather - to accomplish. We're hopeful this will be done early or the middle of May.
  • The final touch is the paint job. We're not going to leave the whole thing in "concrete grey", after all - we want this to be a noticeable entryway to the South Texas Medical Center. You'll notice the STMC logo etched into the retaining walls under Fredericksburg Road, for instance. Once we have all the structural work left, we'll give it a paint job to match some of the theme in the Medical Center.
On the upper level (Fred Road), we've got a bit more work remaining:
  • Perhaps our biggest challenge is getting the traffic signal poles installed correctly. This will resolve some of the issues we're having with traffic at the intersection and has been prioritized for several months, but we are dependent on subcontractors to get the work done. Between availability of equipment and some debate over the actual location of some of these signal poles, we've seen some delays on this work. We now have everything ironed out and hope to see this work progress rapidly over the next few weeks.
  • Once the signal poles are installed and signal heads are mounted on the mast arms, concrete crews will be able to work on the curbs and sidewalks and pedestrian ramps across the intersection. We can't work on these before the signal work is finished because of the high risk of damage (and then a need to re-do work) to the curbs. The good news is this work is fast and only really requires a few short days once it starts
  • One thing folks can see crews doing now is install the steel railing along the concrete barrier keeping those driving on the Medical Drive exit and entrance ramps from barreling down into the through lanes below. Again, this is work that only takes a few short days.
  • The same subcontractor working on our traffic signals is also responsible for our lighting system. Once the signals are done, we'll turn them onto illumination. We hope that process is quick and straightforward.
  • A final layer of asphalt will be put down once all the concrete work is finished. This should smooth out the ride for folks driving through the intersection now, and will allow us to put permanent pavement markers that will help traffic understand this intersection a bit better.
  • Again, we wrap everything up with a paint job. We were trying to work so the painter could move directly from the downstairs portion to the upstairs, but we're not totally sure that will happen now. Hey, we can still try and strive for it, right?
That's it - that gets you up-to-date on the Fred-Med project.

The most important thing is:

Through lanes of Medical Drive should open in about three weeks.

Total project completion should happen in about seven weeks.

Bottom line: by the end of June, you shouldn't see us out there doing much of anything anymore -we should be all packed up and moved on to other projects!