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U.S. 380 work on way

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

State to pay Denton to remove median on University Drive

Motorists will soon need to navigate around construction projects along University Drive, part of a larger state project to widen U.S. Highway 380 from Elm Street to the Wise County line.

City engineer Frank Payne updated the City Council on the project during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Some work has already begun to upgrade city water and wastewater lines along the road, Payne said.

In addition, the city received a letter from the Texas Department of Transportation on Tuesday that the state would pay Denton about $847,000 to remove the median and re-stripe the thoroughfare. That work must be done before the utility relocations can begin, Payne told the council.

Texas Sterling Construction will build the portion that runs from FM156 to Interstate 35, which is expected to cost about $39.3 million and take about three years to complete.

Construction is scheduled to begin in January or February at the Wise County line and proceed east to give the city time to move utilities, Payne said.

TxDOT has awarded the bid for the in-town work — from Elm Street west to Bonnie Brae Street — to Jagoe-Public for about $15.1 million. That part of the job is expected to begin in October 2013 and take about two years to finish, Payne told the council.

The city has written to TxDOT about its timeline to do the utility work and that the city won’t be clear until 2014. In other words, there is potential for overlap with the October 2013 start date, Payne said.

The various water and wastewater construction projects are expected to cost the city about $6.1 million, city documents showed.

So far, the city has not heard back from TxDOT about the issue, but Payne told the council the city was on the record with its concerns.

Council member Dalton Gregory wondered if the state was offering incentives or another kind of assurance that the delays that plagued the expansion of Loop 288 would not occur again on University Drive.

The state’s contractor, Site Concrete, pulled off the project to work on another job, leaving the work in limbo for a long time. Payne said he didn’t expect that to happen again..

“They have motivated contractors on both contracts,” Payne said.

Both Gregory and citizen comments also expressed concern that the street be built to be safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly at the crossing near Newton Rayzor Elementary School.

A new median, lights and crossings should help address that, Payne said. He pledged to look again at the construction plans to better report on details of the sidewalks.

Some may be built with a 1-foot setback from the street, but there may be other places where the road and sidewalk adjoin.

When that occurs, the sidewalk is typically 6 feet wide, Payne said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her email address is pheinkel-wolfe@dentonrc.com .

IN OTHER ACTION

During its meeting Tuesday, the Denton City Council also:

•  Began eminent domain proceedings for four parcels needed for widening Bonnie Brae Street

•  Adopted an ordinance with procedures for oil and gas operators to claim vested rights

•  Approved seven contracts for equipment and supplies for Denton Municipal Electric, totaling $11.77 million

•  Authorized purchase of 3.48 acres on East McKinney Street for $390,000 for a 69-kilovolt power line

•  Rezoned 2.2 acres near Teasley Lane and Old Alton Road to allow for single-family homes

•  Awarded a five-year, $1.5 million contract to Texas Industries for lime slurry for the street department

•  Accepted donation of the Waide Road Bridge from Denton County

•  Approved a sole source contract with Physio Control for 15 defibrillators for $560,000 for the fire department

•  Awarded a $116,431 contract for renovations of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center’s heating and cooling system to Integrity Texas Construction

•  Approved purchase of polymer for the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant for $90,000

•  Adopted a non-exclusive franchise agreement with Oncor