Editors' note: This story has been updated to correct a mistake. The fee for homeowners in the STEP is $1,800.

The Killeen City Council raised concerns about a Belton-based construction company the city has selected to construct a $7.8 million hike-and-bike trail and road extension in southeast Killeen at its workshop Tuesday.

During an item to approve a bid by James Construction Group to construct segments three and four of the Heritage Oaks Hike and Bike Trail and the 0.6-mile extension of Rosewood Drive, council members said they had been made aware of flaws in the firm’s record.

According the the SE Texas Record website, Barbara Cobb and Jessica Ryane Cobb, of Garland, filed a complaint on Dec. 5, 2017, in the U.S. Eastern District Court in Texarkana against James Construction alleging negligence and wrongful death.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs alleged William Cobb died Jan. 7, 2016, from injuries he sustained from a motor vehicle accident on state Highway 82 in Bowie County. Plaintiffs alleged the death was caused by the firm’s negligence.

According to SE Texas Record, the suit alleges James Construction was responsible because it allegedly failed to maintain the width of the roadway during construction, failed to maintain a proper shoulder on the outside lanes and failed to warn approaching traffic that the width of the roadway did not meet the engineering plans as required by industry standards.

In past years, James Construction, which contracted with the city of Killeen for improvements on Interstate 14 and with the Texas Department of Transportation for work on Interstate 35 from Salado to Temple, had been monitored by the state and given a reduced workload on state projects due to taking on too much work.

Killeen Director of Public Works David Olson said Tuesday the city was aware of James Construction’s past concerns and believed the group was capable of executing the construction within the established 800-day timeframe.

“They have some blemishes on their record, but the work they’ve done for Killeen has been great,” Olson said.

James Construction had the low bid during the bidding process — nearly $3 million lower than the city’s estimated project cost of $10.5 million.

The project would also include the construction of 0.6 miles of road to connect Rosewood Drive to Chaparral Road The extension will include the construction of a 284-foot-long bridge over Trimmier Creek, south of the White Rock Estates subdivision. The two segments of the trail will end in Purser Park in Harker Heights.

The council will formally vote on the contract Tuesday.

In other business, the council discussed a zoning change and future land use map adjustment for an approximately 20-acre plot of land east of the Clear Creek Mobile Home on Clear Creek Road.

The zoning change would clear the way for the construction of roughly 60 duplexes on the narrow rectangular plot, providing what engineer Pedro Quintero, who represented the developer, called “transitionary zoning” to future single-family lots.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick pointed out the developers were relying on the construction of a second road through the mobile home park to serve the subdivision. Without that road, he said, the row of duplexes would have one point of entry and would potentially be a hazard for emergency vehicles.

“If you don’t get that second road, you’re still going to have a (two-family zoning) and will try to develop it as you can,” he said. “That is barely adequate coming out of there now.”

The council also:

Tabled discussion on a council policy package initially presented at a workshop two weeks ago. The council, after seeking to strip language out of the policy requiring them to meet rules, postponed the discussion until after the May 5 municipal election.

Discussed the awarding of a $673,673 contract with Bruce Flanigan Construction for the 10th phase of the city’s Septic Tank Elimination Program. The newest phase will bring city sewer access to 101 homes in the Tucker Subdivision at 6000 S. Clear Creek Road. The city estimated the cost to homeowners will be roughly $1,800.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(1) comment


This is the personal opinion of this writer.

It seems to me that the chronology of this endeavor was the presentation of 90 acres by the Pulser group of home builders to enable the Hike and Bike Trail. The Pulser group 'gave the land in an attempt to get the OK for the Hike and Bike Trail.
So why does this city engage in what I call 'underhanded tactics' in presenting to the council an article for inclusion, such as the 'Hike and Bike Trail' and include a presentation as to what it will cost instead of trying to sneak in an approval without the inclusion of a preliminary cost estimate before it is presented to the council????
In my opinion, this is considered a roadway and a bridge, both of which should be under the transportation department and not under the Parks and Recreation Department. This city is trying to 'guilt the lilly' by not putting items in their proper places.
As I said earlier when this item first came out, the 90 acres has a price tag for maintenance of approximately $200,000 per year. The transportation department had a $1.2 million dollar budget for the 2027 – 2018 annual budget of only $300,000 which means that this city is continuing to down the tubes in accordance with road work, repairs, and maintenance activities.
So I am of the opinion that, and I don't know who the parties are that objected because this newspaper does not bother to point out the names of city council members, but they were right to object to a contractor that undercuts by $3 million dollars on a contract that is valued at $10.5 million. I would look at this really close. Either, in my opinion, the contractor is counting heavily on 'change orders' or a possibility on 'cutting corners'. In any event, This contract should be shelved until such time as it can successfully enter into a contract of this magnitude and type, and then it should be put out for a new bid that encompasses the transportation department and not the Parks and recreation Department.
I would vote 'NO' on this and any subsequent contract and submit, as our city manager has said in the past, 'that this should a super majority, a 6 – 1 basis of voting as this certainly does not relate to a simple majority, 4 out of 7 council member vote.
Again this item should be shelved until more answers are provided and this city has the money in it's till. I say again to this council, 'Vote NO' on this and any offshoot of this proposal.
What is with this ping pong approach to the zoning change???? The land use map adjustment of an approximately 20-acre plot that would clear the way for construction of roughly 60 duplexes in what engineer Pedro Quintero called 'transitionary zoning' to future single-family lots. ???? What is this 60 duplexes transitioning to single family lots???? Again, it sounds to me like this city and it's commission needs t take another look at just what this city entails.
Copy: 'Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick pointed out the developers were relying on the construction of a second road through the mobile home park to serve the subdivision. Without that road, he said, the row of duplexes would have one point of entry and would potentially be a hazard for emergency vehicles.' End of copy.
It sounds like an extreme safety violation to me and one that the Fire Department should take another look at. If there isn't adequate roadway now then the developer should put this project on hold until adequate roadway is established. A single point of ingress and egress, as a minimum, should be held as a minimum.
And mayor pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick, in his statement that:
Copy: “If you don’t get that second road, you’re still going to have a (two-family zoning) and will try to develop it as you can,” he said. “That is barely adequate coming out of there now.” End of copy.
This sounds like: Dammed if you do and Dammed if you don't'. Is that what you are saying mayor pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick????
There are a number of items that should be resolved before any further action is contemplated and this council should 'take it back to the drawing board until further notice'.
For the record, please employ the names of the council members in your comments and council votes. Sometimes we would like to know just how our city council is doing.
This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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