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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Construction Report: Tezel Road Update...

Just a quick follow-up to my previous complaint about the slow going on Tezel Road...

My neighbor Gus forwarded me a response he got from a TxDOT representative when he wrote in to complain about the mess, and the gist of her reply was that, though they apologize for the inconvenience, the real issue is with delays caused by CPS, SAWS and other utilities.

I promptly e-mailed the TxDOT lady and essentially asked her to expand on the response that, in my opinion, was taking no blame for delays whatsoever and putting it all on the City of San Antonio (COSA) and the various utilities.

The spokeslady responded in part:
First of all, Tezel Road is a city roadway and the City of San Antonio
did the original planning for this work.

During the planning process, TxDOT (and COSA) consults with all utility
agencies prior to construction in order to get the best (and I emphasize
the word "best") blueprint of all utilities. It is a misconception that
comprehensive as-built plans exist. Many companies can check their
records and TxDOT receives the best possible location to include in
design plans. But, once crews dig underground, it is anyone' guess what
will be found — gas or electrical lines that were not on the plans,
water and sewer lines that are not where crews expect them to be,
abandoned lines that forces crews to stop and determine who the
responsible utility company is and whether these lines are active or
not, etc. The work then stops until the appropriate utility company
comes in and lets TxDOT know what is to be done in that instance.
She also responded to another concern:

"This poor planning does not give us a whole lot of faith in TxDOT's
ability to manage the roads" — Mr. Stone, the planning and the design
on Tezel Road was done by the City of San Antonio engineers and/or their
engineering consultants. Through an agreement with the City and because
of use of federal money for the project, TxDOT provides oversight of the
construction to make sure that the work is done according to plan
specifications. Tezel Road is not on the state highway system and will
return to the City of San Antonio for maintenance.

Though TxDOT does have plenty of construction projects that are
designed and construction under TxDOT's authority, to be judged for work
that was designed by another entity is not right.
In other words, City Plans it, TxDOT manages the work while taking no responsibility for the poor design or planning, then hands it back over to the city when they finish (assuming it does get finished). What is the value added to that to the taxpayer? Seriously, at least if the city was managing this abortion, we could complain to them. As it is now, the city can simply shrug their shoulders and say, "TxDOT is managing the project and trying to convince you to support toll roads."

In fairness, the lady who e-mailed me was very nice and extremely professional, but frankly, her answers seemed to avoid any responsibility or solution, other than to apologize for any inconvenience.


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