February 23, 2007
Last word on Old Spanish Trail

At long last, it is finished.

There's good news for rodeo fans, barbecue lovers and thousands of drivers tired of jolting like a bull rider along Old Spanish Trail near Reliant Park and the Texas Medical Center.

A repaving job that began in fall 2005 and was expected to take 11 months ended up stretched over 17, but it's finally completed.

"The weather has cooperated," Texas Department of Transportation area engineer Maureen Wakeland said Wednesday.

"The O.S.T. main lanes are all paved. The contractor has just started the median work."


Wakeland said the project was delayed by change orders and the discovery, when the old asphalt was scraped away, that deeper repairs were needed.

The project, initially estimated to cost $7.3 million, called for Forde Construction to rebuild 6.3 miles of the busy street from Kirby to the Gulf Freeway. TxDOT was in charge because O.S.T. is also part of the federal highway U.S. 90A.

Change orders after the start of work increased the time to complete the project and added about $1.6 million to its cost.

Since I've been so harsh on TxDOT for this project, I'll note that if it really extended all the way to I-45 and not just SH-288 as it appeared to me, then maybe there was work going on that I wasn't seeing during all those long, apparent delays. Be that as it may, I can't begin to tell you how happy I am for this to finally be done. Rodeo traffic is bad enough under good conditions - this was the last thing we needed. Hallelujah!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 23, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


As a former road inspector, I just want to chime in and say that fixing a degraded roadbed is a MUCH greater task than a simple resurfacing project.

It would be interesting to find out how long ago the last proper resurfacing occured on Old Spanish Trail(a cold mill scrape and new asphalt) and whether a virgin or a recycled asphalt mix was used. Sometimes these bed rebuilds need to be done because of some problem with the initial construction or a real mess like sewer line replacement, but usually the issue is a lack of proper maintenance of the top asphalt layer. (This is particularly important if a road gets a lot of truck traffic as damage increases exponentially with vehicle weight.)

The temptation on a busy street is often to "kick the can down the road" and avoid a few weeks of traffic snarls...but the end result of that necessary deferred maintenance is often a real mess like you all have experienced.

Posted by: Blue on February 23, 2007 10:05 AM