Bill blamed for some construction delays

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- You've probably had to tap your brakes more than you'd like over the past few months. If it isn't the rain slowing you down, it's likely that the multiple rain closures due to construction is causing you delays.

Some of the biggest projects around the Houston area include the US-290 corridor, the Grand Parkway (Hwy 99) between US-290 and US-59, the I-45 deck repair near Downtown; I-45 the North Freeway at Shepherd, and I-45 the Gulf Freeway in Clear Lake.

We asked TxDOT how the large amounts of rain we've endured will affect the scheduled end-dates for road work, and TxDOT says all projects are on-schedule or ahead of schedule. Contractors add extra time in for weather when they create their construction schedules, and in some instances, there's even incentive for them to finish early.

The projects finishing up the soonest are I-45 near Downtown and I-45 at Shepherd. Both should be open later this summer.

But not all projects can factor in weather delays. The combination of a very wet May, the Memorial Day flooding and Tropical Storm Bill has many singing the weather blues.

Contractors who usually bank on Houston's hot summer months are now backlogged with work and in some cases seeing red in their checkbooks.

"I've never seen so much rain ever before," said Chris Rivademar, "and I never expected for it to keep raining and raining and raining."

Rivademar is the president of Texas National Contractors. He said he hasn't had a full week of work in months and it's costing his business anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a week.

The rain causing a devastating domino effect for home construction.

"Until we get the brick up we can't finish the roof, and if we can't finish the roof, we can't start sheet-rocking," one expert said.

Pool and home builders are also hurting. The summer is typically the busiest time of the year for pool builders but experts say the weather is causing never-before-seen backlogs with their construction. J.R. Richards says he usually digs about 35 swimming pool holes every June. This month he's only worked on 15. And he's got at least 30 jobs waiting to get started.

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