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.