Kirby road project tests patience of residents, city officials

Contractor blames rain; some don't buy it

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KIRBY, Texas – A road reconstruction project in Kirby that was supposed to take a year to complete is delayed and the contractor is blaming the rain. 

But with the project not even halfway done, some city officials and residents aren't buying the contractor's reason for the delay.

The $2.1 million project on Binz Engleman Road between Springfield Road and Friendship Park started in May 2018. 

Kirby City Manager Monique Vernon said the project included resurfacing of the road, enhanced sidewalks, bike lanes and was partially funded by a Metropolitan Planning Organization grant. 

A month past the 12-month deadline, only about a half-mile of that project is completed, and that section has not yet been finalized for approval by the city. The punch list items for phases one through three still have not completed to satisfaction. 

Joan Barrera, a resident who lives in the completed section of the project wonders what is taking so long.  

"This has been going on over a year, and we don't know," she said. 

San Antonio Constructors Ltd. asked the city to work on phases four and five concurrently in order to catch up, but the proposal was denied due to the contractor's past performance, Vernon said. 

San Antonio Constructors General Manager Roy Heath Jr. issued the following statement to KSAT about why the project was delayed:

"We have experienced extremely unusual rain events throughout the duration of the project which has resulted in delayed completion of the project. We experienced the wettest fall on record for the city in history, as well as a month-long rain events in May. The rain events have affected the ability to perform the concrete and asphalt activities needed to drive the project. After rain events, we are usually not able to work until sometimes days later due to the moisture on the ground not allowing asphalt or concrete, as well as, dumps being saturated and not being able to access them for excavation. In an effort to mitigate the past delays and in an effort to expediate completion of the project, we will be adding additional crews to speed up concrete placement in the future phasing."

But residents and city officials don't buy Heath's statement.

James Craig, a resident, said he tried to contact the contractor himself for answers.  

"We've had a lot of rain. Delays, yes. Delays to where it would get this far, no," he said. 

The city has paid the contractor $605,799.31 for the work done so far. City officials plan to do a walk-through Friday for one remaining punch list item, and if all goes well, the contractor may be allowed to move on to the next phase. 

The city has been told the project will be done by October 2019. 

As of July 2, the contractor will be over its contract-liquidated damages and will begin losing out on profits as a result of the delay. 

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.