by BRAD ROLLINS
After its latest detour — this time through thorny politics surrounding Iraq war contractor KBR — engineering work will soon be underway on the county’s portion of Farm-to-Market Road 110.
The commissioners court voted unanimously today to award the contract to Houston-based S&B Infrastructure Ltd. after deciding April 7 to scuttle plans to work with KBR, which is under fire for accusations of negligence and fraud in Iraq and Kuwait. The contract is expected to cost a base of $617,629 — the same price negotiated with KBR — with the total not to exceed $1 million.
Under the contract terms, S&B has two years to complete the job.
The county’s roughly one-mile portion will connect McCarty Lane to Texas 123 with a four-lane, divided highway in what is intended to be the first leg of an eastern loop around San Marcos.
The area is currently a patchwork of road projects in different stages of development.
The city completed less than 1,000 feet of widening McCarty Lane at its intersection with Interstate 35 last year in anticipation of the opening of the San Marcos Embassy Suites Hotel, Convention Center & Spa, which opened in October.
The city has also assumed the cost of engineering the balance of a 1.1-mile segment of McCarty to a four-lane road. That project is currently being engineered by KBR, assistant city manager Laurie Moyer said, and officials currently expect to go out for construction bids this fall.
Meanwhile, the county is also undertaking widening McCarty Lane to four lanes from the end of the city portion — where the new segment will veer off to Texas 123 — to McCarty Lane’s terminus at the Old Bastrop Highway where the new San Marcos High School opened in August 2007.
The city’s portion was originally projected to cost about $10 million — current estimates are not immediately available — and the county’s portion of FM 110 is expected to cost about $18 million, part of a $207 million road bond package approved by voters in November. In an April 2008 pact, the county agreed to transfer to the city a $2 million federal appropriation to be applied to the city’s portion of the McCarty improvements.
The Texas Department of Transportation could reimburse the county up to $15.8 million through a pass-through tolling agreement depending on how much cars use the road when it is completed.Email | Print