Delays for Woodlands Parkway bridge construction frustrate commuters

Many Woodlands residents are frustrated after a construction project is behind schedule
February 4, 2014 4:58:50 PM PST
A bridge construction project in The Woodlands is months behind schedule and residents are frustrated.

The expansion project on The Woodlands Parkway Bridge was to take 13 months and be completed in December 2013. But as of today, the construction is still underway and the projected finish is in April.

The contractor, Menade Construction, blames poor design, plan changes beyond its control and unreliable subcontractors for the lengthy delay.

"It's like remodeling your kitchen, when you tear into the wall and you don't know what's there, old plumbing you don't plan on repairing stuff but some surprises you have to deal with," said Jerry Wade with Menade Construction.

TxDOT, which oversees the project, agrees those are some of the issues, but also says it is questioning the contractor's scheduling.

Menade is now paying several hundred dollars a day in fines for every additional day of delays.

"The project is about 43 percent complete as of a February estimate," said Deirdrea Samuels with TxDOT. "I wouldn't say that it was solely a contractor issue because there were design errors and there were utility relocations at the beginning of the project."

Residents say their commute the length of Woodlands Parkway can often take longer than the drive from Woodlands Parkway to downtown Houston.

"Mobility is probably the number one issue in The Woodlands," said Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack.

Noack says his office is receiving daily phone calls from residents about the bridge construction

"Being hopeful is about the best I can be right now," he said.

There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday at the office of County Commissioner Noack.

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