In February, I expressed concerns to City administrators about repairs to N. Main St. With the work not occurring in my specific council district, I also expressed concerns to my colleagues who represent those 2 districts.
I emailed city administrators 2 basic questions on February 21 and received a response on February 28. The response stated the City had paid out over $429,000 to the contractor with another $550,000 remaining to be paid out to the contractor. $600,000 was also budgeted for diamond-grinding (which is supposed to smooth out rough edges), bringing total projected costs to $1,580,000. In their response to my questions, they noted the total cost to completely re-construct N. Main would be $11,000,000. Neither of my questions asked about re-construction, so perhaps that was included to help demonstrate the cost advantages of spending $1,580,000 on repairs instead.
Based on repair work as of today May 18, I believe spending $11,000,000 to do it right would’ve offered a better long-term value to taxpaying residents. Why? Mostly because N. Main looks (much) worse and rides (much) bumpier now than it did before the repair work. Moreover, even after these $1,580,000 of repairs are completed on the northbound lanes, N. Main will still need more repairs, and sooner rather than later. Also, residents have said they want more focus on rehabilitating the older part of Baytown, particularly their streets. It’s frustrating to see the City build entirely new streets in newer parts of town at enormous costs to taxpayers, yet this highly traveled major artery in the older central area of town only gets more patchwork.
On Tuesday May 12, I asked administrators three more questions: 1) Are the previous dollar estimates still correct? 2) Had the diamond-grinding occurred yet? 3) Did the $1,580,000 of repair work come before City Council for approval? It likely did of course, but I just don’t recall discussing it. I’m hoping the grinding has not yet occurred and that it will smooth out the bumpiness substantially when it does.
As of today Monday May 18, I’m still waiting on answer to those 3 questions. This opinion letter is not meant to throw our administrators under the bus. But Council members are elected to do a job and serve with citizens’ best interests as their guide.
If you too have concerns about these repairs, you may wish to reach out to other members of City Council to express your thoughts.
City Councilman Chris Presley represents District 2.