July 2018 Update:
The contractor is currently installing storm drain pipe and inlets at various locations along the west side of Rufe Snow Drive, as well as making adjustments to existing utility lines to make room for the new pavement. Once all subsurface utilities are cleared, paving activities will commence. These include: subgrade stabilization, asphalt placement, and finally concrete paving. The current schedule indicates that Phase II paving should be complete in September 2018. Once this work is complete southbound traffic will be shifted to the new pavement and the contractor will proceed to the third and final phase of the project which consists of paving the middle of the roadway.
May 15, 2018 Update:
The next phase of the Rufe Snow Drive Improvements Project has begun. This phase will reconstruct the outer two southbound lanes on the west side of the roadway. You can expect to see heavy equipment removing the old pavement, sawcutting and removal of the concrete curb and gutter, and removal of drive approaches and sidewalks. Care will be taken to maintain access to the adjacent properties as much as possible.
Following the demolition activities, there are minor water line adjustments and the extension of storm drainage lines that must be completed before new concrete pavement is constructed. The current schedule indicates that demolition and utility work should be complete by mid-June, after which pavement activities will begin. Please remember to reduce your speed and drive carefully in the construction zone.
May 11, 2018 Update:
Northbound traffic on Rufe Snow Drive will be transitioned to the new pavement today from Mid Cities Boulevard to Ridgetop Road. Southbound traffic will shift to the center lanes as soon as necessary re-striping has been done so that construction can begin on the Watauga side of the roadway. Please slow down and pay attention to all construction signs and barricades. Remember to drive friendly everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Work on the Rufe Snow improvements project is behind schedule. We understand the public's frustration with the slow progress and are working with TxDOT to move the project forward.
What is the scope of this project?
The Rufe Snow improvements project will rebuild and expand the existing five-lane roadway to seven lanes (three travel lanes in each direction plus a center turn lane) between Mid-Cities Boulevard and Ridgetop Road. Intersection and storm drainage improvements will also be made and new sidewalks will be constructed on both sides of the roadway. The work is being performed by Kodiak Trenching and Boring. Motorists are urged to slow down and obey warning signs when travelling in the area.
What was the original project completion date?
The contract specified the work to be done in 427 working days (which is counted as 5 days per week). Based on when the notice to proceed was issued, February 28, 2018 was the original project completion date.
How much of the project has been completed?
The project is a 3 phase project, and the contractor is in the second phase. Phase 1 consisted of water line relocation, storm drain installation and constructing the two outside northbound lanes on the east side of the roadway. Phase 2 consists of paving the 2 southbound outside lanes on the west side of the roadway and finishing up storm drains. Phase 3 consists of paving the 3 interior lanes and installing the permanent traffic signals at all three intersections.
Why isn’t the city doing anything about the delays on this project?
The City of North Richland Hills is currently pursuing all contractual and legal options available to get this project completed.
What is the penalty for not completing the work on time?
Per the contract, liquidated damages of $1,285 per working day are being assessed for work completed beyond the contractual terms.
How much has the contractor been paid already?
The contractor is paid after work is completed, inspected and invoiced. To date, the contractor has been paid $3.6 million of the $12.1 million contract.
Did the contract require a performance bond?
Yes, a performance bond was required as a guarantee for the satisfactory completion of a project. The city has notified the bonding company that contractual obligations have not been met.
Will another contractor be hired to finish the project?
The bonding company decides who will complete the work. They may choose to put the job out to bid, complete the work themselves or have the current contractor finish the project.
Why is there a noticeable change in elevation between the new lanes and the old lanes?
The elevation of Rufe Snow Drive is changing in some areas to improve drainage and in other areas (such as the intersection of Chapman) to eliminate sudden dips in the roadway. While the elevation change is evident during construction, it will not be noticeable once construction is complete, as all lanes of the roadway will be reconstructed to match up with the new elevations.
Why are new street improvement projects being started when this one has not been finished?
Projects to improve the intersection of Davis and Mid Cities Boulevard and to realign and widen the southern portion of Smithfield Road recently began. Both projects were bid independently of other projects and contracts were awarded to different construction companies. We understand the frustration that construction can cause and apologize for any inconvenience. Ultimately these improvements will increase roadway capacity and improve efficiency for the traveling public.
What is the cost for this project? How is the project funded?
The construction contract awarded for the Rufe Snow Drive project is $12,134,407. The bulk of the project is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) through a Federal Grant, which covers approximately 80% of the construction costs with the City covering the remaining 20%. There are some project items that are not eligible for the grant reimbursement, like water lines and street lights for instance, but they constitute a small portion of the work.
What was the bidding process? How many contractors submitted bids?
Because this project was funded through Federal Grants, TXDOT was assigned the task of ensuring that the bidding process, design and construction is compliant with Federal Standards. Federal standards are stringent and require several steps to be followed throughout the bidding, design and construction process. The project was advertised for bid in November 2015, and bids were opened on December 18, 2015. Three bids were received ranging in price from $12,134,407 to $13,709,537.
How was the contractor vetted and selected? Who made this selection?
Per the terms of the contract documents required by TxDOT, the lowest responsive qualified bidder is selected. Before a bidder is determined to be qualified, TxDOT requires that bidders to be pre-qualified through evaluation of their financial health, construction capability, and bonding capacity.
What is the project time line and why is it so long?
The project began in May 2016. The contract is set up to allot the contractor 427 working days (about 21 months) to complete the work. Although the physical length of the project is relatively short at 1.25 miles, roadway widening in heavily traveled corridors is multi-faceted. In order to maintain traffic capacity, the project has to be constructed in three phases, with two travel lanes in both the north and southbound directions to be maintained throughout the project duration. The number of phases is dictated by the available width of the roadway right-of-way. Before each phase of the paving is placed, the underground utility and drainage work has to be installed, meaning these underground pipe networks are also installed in phases, buried and then re-excavated to be connected to. The fastest method to construct this project would be to completely close Rufe Snow to traffic during construction, but that would not be convenient. The phased approach balances speed of construction with impact to the travelling public.
Is something in the contract about finishing on a certain deadline or an incentive to finish early?
There are no early completion incentives, but there are penalties built into the contract for failure to complete the work in the allotted number of work days.
Why aren’t there more workers on this project?
Within the project timeline, neither the City nor TxDOT has the ability to dictate exactly what is being done on any given day, and how many workers must be present. Ultimately they are accountable to finish the scope of the work, built to the standards and specifications within the contract, all within the allotted time. Within those guidelines the contractor is free to choose his “means and methods” by which to perform the work.
Additional questions may be directed to the Public Works Department at 817-427-6400.