Concrete Analysis on Austin Avenue Bridges

deck core 2b webThis week technicians with WJE, an engineering and materials science firm, took samples of concrete from the Austin Avenue Bridges over the San Gabriel River.

Using a small drilling machine, non-destructive core samples were taken from the bridge deck and the bridge support structures. Ground penetrating radar technology also is being used to determine the condition of piers, foundations, and abutments to the bridges.

The core samples and radar results will be analyzed in a lab to determine the properties of the concrete and reinforced structures of the bridge.

Results of the testing will be reviewed by engineers with Aguirre and Fields and engineers for the City. Aguirre and Fields is working for the City to assess the bridges and develop options for repair or replacement.

Next year the City will hold meetings for public input on the design of the new Austin Avenue Bridges.

support core 1bThe City Council will consider this public input and is expected to decide on a bridge replacement option later next year.

Design work on the bridges will likely begin later in 2016 or in 2017. Construction work on new bridges could take 12 to 24 months.

A weight limit was placed on the bridges last year following a structural assessment by the Texas Department of Transportation. The maximum gross weight for each bridge is 48,000 pounds or 24 tons. The weight limit for a tandem axle on a vehicle is 21,000 pounds or 10.5 tons.

Sidewalk Master Plan Receives Two Awards

The Sidewalk Master Plan will receive an award from the Central Texas American Planning Association. The award for Best Long Range Plan of 2015 will be presented at the association’s annual awards event on September 26 in Bastrop.

In October, the plan will be recognized during the annual conference of the American Planning Association Texas Chapter in Galveston.

“This plan includes a comprehensive assessment of our 144-mile sidewalk network,” says Ed Polasek, transportation services director for the City of Georgetown. “It prioritizes community-voiced needs and emphasizes collaboration with our school district, county, and regional transportation partners.”

The Sidewalk Master Plan, which was finalized last year, includes sidewalk projects for the next 10 years. Transportation bonds approved by Georgetown voters in May authorize $10 million for pedestrian accessibility in the next 10 years.

To view the interactive Sidewalk Master Plan or nominate sidewalk network issues in Georgetown city limits, please visit SidewalksAndFacilities.Georgetown.org.

Repaving on Williams Drive: Update

Update: Repaving work on Williams Drive is scheduled to continue on Monday, Aug. 17 in the segment from Lakeway Drive to Serenada Drive. Repaving is not scheduled for the weekend, but should resume on Monday, Aug. 17 and should be completed on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Repaving work on Williams Drive starts on Monday, August 10 in the segment from Lakeway Drive to Serenada Drive. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Williams Drive during the repaving process with lane closures in the work area. The repaving work is expected to continue next week through Friday and possibly into the following week.

Work will begin each day at 7 a.m. and will be completed by 6 p.m. The schedule is weather-dependent.

The repaving work will use a recycle-in-place technology that removes asphalt from the road, mixes it with emulsion, and reapplies it to the street surface.

Drivers should anticipate delays in the work area.

Alternate routes include DB Wood Road to Texas 29 or Shell Road to Texas 195. Northwest Boulevard and Airport Road also can serve as alternates for local traffic.

Street Resurfacing August 6 – 21

Street resurfacing with a chip seal treatment on several Georgetown roads is scheduled for August 6 – 21 in the area south of University Ave as shown in the map.

Chip seal resurfacing involves applying a layer of emulsion to the roadway followed by a layer of small-sized gravel. Unless otherwise noted, the entire length of the roadway will be resurfaced.  The chip seal wear surface will extend the life span of the asphalt on the street by slowing oxidation and sealing cracks in the asphalt. This will also help defer costly street reconstruction.

Chip sealing operations will begin after 7:30 a.m. and will end by 5 p.m. each day. Look for electronic message boards or door flyers in the neighborhood with information about the resurfacing schedule.

This schedule is weather-dependent and could be changed if there is rain.

Drivers should expect delays and look for flaggers in a moving work area. Drivers should reduce their speed and increase the spacing distance between vehicles to reduce problems with loose rock on roadway.

Following the application of the chip seal, street sweeping will occur within 24 to 48 hours to sweep up any loose chips. Once the sweeping operation has been completed a sealing material called Fast Set will be applied to the chip seal surface. The Fast Set sealant will require a drying time of 20 to 30 minutes prior to being open to traffic.

The sealant will improve the driving surface and increase protection from the weather. Public notification about the street sealant work will be done before work starts.

Transportation Bond Approved, Gipson Wins District 5

Georgetown voters have approved the transportation bonds on the May 9 ballot.  These are the unofficial final results for the transportation bond election from Williamson County Elections:

Votes:Percent:
For: 2,281 75.18%
Against: 753 24.82%

These are the unofficial final results in the District 5 City Council election from Williamson County Elections:

Votes:Percent:
Ty Gipson 456 68.67%
Paul Nadeau 208 31.33%

To see a complete May 9, 2015 election results, go to www.wilco.org/elections.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Survey

The City of Georgetown is currently in the process of completing a Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Input from the community is needed for the project team to identify and analyze potential hazards affecting residents and recommend possible actions to reduce their impact. Hazards can include droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other major disasters.

A public participation survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CityofGeorgetown.

The goal of the Hazard Mitigation Plan is to minimize or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from known hazards by identifying and implementing cost-effective mitigation actions. Mitigation is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.

Questions about the Hazard Mitigation Plan should be addressed to H2O Partners, planning consultants for the project. Contact Cathy Meek with H2O Partners at (888) 328-4151, ext. 2, or by email at cathy@h2opartnersusa.com.

Airport Tower Funding From TXDOT and City Approved

Update: Today the FAA has delayed tower closures until June 15th.  So the City contracts and funding of the tower will not begin until June 16th if TxDOT allows the grant to be extended to that date.

The Georgetown city council voted this morning to accept an emergency short-term grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to help fund staffing of the control tower at the Georgetown Municipal Airport. The TXDOT grant provides 90 percent of the funding for tower staffing by air traffic controllers. The City will fund the remaining 10 percent of the staffing cost. The city council approved the funding arrangement in a special meeting to address the tower funding issue.

The 90/10 funding arrangement is on an emergency basis for 90 days. The state and local money replaces federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration that ends on April 7. Funding was cut for FAA contract employees at airport control towers as a result of sequestration federal budget cuts that took effect in March.

Yesterday, the Texas Transportation Commission approved the emergency state funding program for control towers at 14 airports in Texas. The TXDOT funding program is a reimbursement grant in which the City of Georgetown will pay the expected $158,687 cost to staff the tower for 90 days and will later be reimbursed by TXDOT for 90 percent of the cost. The City’s portion of the 90-day cost is projected to be $15,868.70. City funding will come from the Airport Fund or General Fund programs that have experienced cost saving in the 2013 Budget.  Staff will present those options to City Council at the April 23rd regular meeting.

The city council also approved a contract with Robinson Aviation to provide the air traffic controllers to staff the control tower. Controllers with Robinson Aviation have worked under an FAA contract to staff the Georgetown control tower since it opened in 2007.

If FAA funding for tower operations is restored before the 90-day period, then the TXDOT and City funding for tower operations would be discontinued.