By Betsy Dolan
The City of Sugar Land never intended the $11 million Dulles Avenue Upgrade Project to occur in two parts but after a year of waiting, and with the first phase nearly 50 percent complete, the second phase is finally set to begin this month at the intersection of State Highway 6 and Dulles Avenue. The Dulles Avenue Upgrade Project, on Sugar Land’s wish list for 10 years, involves reconstruction of Dulles Avenue from U.S. 90A to SH 6 and also includes various intersection improvements at Cartwright Road and Lexington Boulevard.
On June 19, The City of Sugar Land’s City Council approved a $1.5 million dollar contract to ISI Contracting, Inc. to begin the final phase of the project involving reconstruction and intersection improvements at SH 6 and Dulles Avenue. The improvements were delayed a year after the Federal Highway Administration removed the SH 6/Dulles portion from the larger project pending an environmental review which was approved after the original construction bid had already been awarded.
The SH 6/Dulles project will include additional left turn lanes on Dulles, Austin Parkway and SH 6, widening of SH 6, installation of medians on SH 6 as well as drainage improvements. Construction is expected to last for seven months and should be complete in early 2013. City of Sugar Land Engineer Keisha Seals told the council that just two companies bid on the project, even after additional time was given to accept bids, prompting Councilmen Harish Jajoo and Joe Zimmerman to question why more companies didn’t bid on the project.
“It isn’t a long stretch of road but there are a lot of traffic control issues to deal with on State Highway 6 and TxDOT has a lot of restrictions. There is a combination of things but mostly because it is a piece-meal project,” Seals said, noting that James Construction, who is doing the first phase of the project did not opt to bid on the second phase. Seals also said that delaying the project in order to solicit additional bids could cause construction costs, particularly concrete, to increase.
The entire Dulles Avenue Upgrade Project is a cooperative effort between Fort Bend County, Missouri City, and Sugar Land. The county’s financial portion is $4.29 million, Missouri City will contribute $400,000 and Sugar Land will contribute almost $6 million.