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Upper Kirby Update 

November 30, 2012  

Richmond Drainage Improvements:  
Work Continues Despite Sinkhole Found at Virginia
Richmond Construction 

The Richmond Avenue Drainage Improvements Project continues to move forward this week despite some unforeseen obstacles.

Work at the Buffalo Speedway/Richmond intersection is now complete and the intersection has been restored to normal traffic movements and a large pour has been scheduled for later today from Virginia west through Wakeforest. This pour will allow traffic control to be adjusted next week and will restore east/west traffic to the correct side of the median from Kirby to Buffalo Speedway.

Workers were, however, surprised to find approximately two-feet of concrete on the northern curbside lane of Richmond just east of Virginia that had fallen into what is apparently a sinkhole under the street. Crews were out yesterday investigating adjacent underground facilities to be sure the dirt is not washing out into a neighboring manhole or storm sewer. It appears that the recess under the roadway is not washing out and is most likely poor subsurface material that has settled during recent drought conditions.

Over the next several days crews will excavate the area to determine the extent of the damage and construct a plan to remedy the condition. The hope is that the sinkhole can be repaired and the concrete replaced next week, however, there may be an impact to the curbside lane even after the Wakeforest pour has opened up the inside two lanes to westbound traffic. Look for further updates on this condition next week.

Next Wednesday another significant pour is scheduled that will address several driveways west of Virginia and on the north side of Richmond at Audley. Minor concrete work will be taking place over the next few weeks throughout the project area to place curbs and restore sidewalks and ramps that have been impacted by construction. This will leave only intersection pavement restoration at Lake, Virginia and Eastside to complete surface work on Richmond.

Waterline and storm inlet lead work has been ongoing at these intersections over the past several weeks and is also making headway. Waterline and storm inlet work at Eastside is now complete leaving only waterline connections before Eastside can be paved. The City could complete chlorination of these lines as early as next week, though it is possible that this could slip to the following week. Once chlorination is finished crews can make all connections and restore the pavement.

Storm inlet lead work has begun at Audley and will continue next week south of Richmond. This work also entails the installation of a large storm sewer manhole on the southwest side of the intersection that should be completed over the next two weeks as well.

The Virginia intersection is ready to be paved as soon as the sinkhole east of the intersection has been addressed. Timing on this pavement restoration will depend on the amount of  damage found under the roadway and the extent of repair necessary before placing concrete. The hope is to have this area poured over the next several weeks.
Westheimer Drainage Improvements and Streetscape Installation

Design is now nearly complete on the Westheimer Paving, Drainage and Streetscape Improvements Project between Shepherd and Buffalo Speedway. This is the final piece of storm drainage work needed to complete the Kirby system.

Work on Westheimer will follow the scope of the Kirby Drive reconstruction project fairly closely. It will entail the burial of all overhead utility lines; new storm drainage, water and sanitary facilities; complete roadway repaving and the installation of a full pedestrian-oriented streetscape that will include pedestrian lighting and furniture, street tree installation and irrigation, brick paved crosswalks, widened sidewalks and upgraded traffic signal and streetlight standards.

The project will be implemented in two sections, the eastern phase will extend from Shepherd to Kirby Drive and the western phase will continue from Kirby to Buffalo Speedway. Each of these phases will be split into a utility relocation phase followed by a roadway, infrastructure and streetscape phase.

The project will likely begin at Shepherd where the contractor will be responsible for constructing the underground duct-banks that will house the existing overhead wires in the future. The contractor will then asphalt over the work area, re-stripe the roadway and remove all traffic control and equipment.

We will close out the contract at this point to avoid disruption to the traveling public and to the local businesses and property owners while we wait for Center Point and all telecommunication companies to transfer services to the new underground facilities and remove the wooden utility poles. Because the length of this process is uncertain, we have planned the project to pause and restore the roadway completely while the utility companies are completing their work. Once the terminal poles have been removed by Center Point, we will bid the roadway phase of the project and begin the reconstruction.

The first utility phase is planned to be bid in December to begin construction in January. Please look for further detail on the timing and implementation of this project as plans are finalized.

For more information on Upper Kirby construction projects and for issues and concerns as construction progresses, contact Travis Younkin at 713.524.8000 or email travis@upperkirby.org.
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Upper Kirby is a constantly evolving urban area marked by an outstanding location, great shopping, unique residential neighborhoods, smart development and a small town feel. It is an area of successful businesses, involved communities and a synergy between the public and private sectors. It is the heartbeat of Houston and everywhere you want to be.