City proceeds with Kirby extension despite cost

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It will cost more than expected, but the city is moving forward with the extension of Kirby Drive between Broadway and County Road 59.

City Council on April 13 awarded a $2.95 million construction contract to SER Construction Partners LLC.

Development in the area, including a new elementary campus on CR 59 and the construction of a new high school just west of Kirby, city officials said, require the completion of this roadway to provide access and circulation.

Alvin ISD’s new high school, set to open in 2016, requires an access point on Kirby. The school district is pitching in roughly $342,000 toward traffic signal, turn lane and median costs.

But even taking into account funds from the district as well as $134,000 in sidewalk funding from developer Ashton Woods, the cost of the project fell about $858,000 short of what had been budgeted – largely due to concrete costs.

“The project did come in over engineer’s estimate,” City manager Clay Pearson told the council. “It’s going to be a combination of a small amount from reserves and the rest from general obligation bonds.”

Those bonds were authorized by voters in 2007.

“I think it needs to happen and it needs to happen soon for the opening of the school,” Councilman Tony Carbone said. “The question or comment that I have is we’re selling bonds that were authored when we didn’t even know the project was in existence. I know legally we can do that, it just seems odd. We’ve got to pay for it somehow. I get it. But when I saw that, it left me scratching my head a little bit.”

Councilman Greg Hill commented: “It’s very important to get it done soon, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we have existing roads that need to be done, and I want to make sure we treat those things with equal favor.”

SER Construction submitted the lowest bid from those received, according to city documents, and the company has a positive work history with the city.

Barring weather delays, the project is expected to be complete by late fall of this year.

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