News & Press: News

HCA Holds its Annual Forecast Luncheon

Saturday, February 15, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Dubuisson


February 2014
by Jeffrey Nielsen


The Houston Contractors Association held their ninth annual construction forecast presentation at the January luncheon.  This popular event always draws a large crowd and this year was no exception with an estimated 240 attendees turning out for this, the first luncheon of the year.  The attendees got to hear representatives from various regional public entities give their construction projections for 2014.  The list of speakers was as follows; from the Texas Department of Transportation we had the District Engineer, Mike Alford.  Speaking for Harris County was Raymond Anderson, Chief of Staff for the Public Infrastructure Department, Architecture & Engineering Division.  Attending from Harris County Flood Control was Assistant Engineering Manager, Gary Zika. Also present was the Director of Maintenance & Traffic Engineering for the Harris County Toll Road Authority, Quinton Alberto. Mr. Alberto was followed by the Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Houston, Mr. Daniel Menendez.  We also had the Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Pasadena, Mr. Mark Gardemal. Jimmy Vandever, Construction Services Manager for the City of Sugar Land was the next speaker followed by Andrea Brinkley, Projects Manager for the City of Pearland.  Next was Scott Elmer, Assistant City Manager for Missouri City followed by Brock Lewis, Chief Construction Manager for the Port of Houston. Finally we had Frank Andrews, Director of Engineering for Metro. 

Highlights of the presentations

Mike Alford with TxDOT stated that he has $1 Billion budget coming out this year in state funding, with a couple of notable projects listed in the proposal.  In January there was a $68.1 million widening job on US 59 from state highway 36 to FM 762.  In February there will be a $26.9 million  direct connect project on I-45 and the 610 South loop.  There will be a $25.6 million bridge replacement on I-45 at White Oak bayou.  There will be a $91.5 million reconstruction and widening project on US 290 between Bauer and Mueschke roads and finally in August there will be a $57 million project to widen US 59 between FM 762 to FM 2759.

Raymond Anderson with Harris County PID, stated that they have gone a little lower on their projections for projects for 2014.  The last couple of years the County has had 50 projects per year, this year they are looking at having forty projects.  He said that they estimate that the value of projects under construction will be around $165 million.  Mr. Anderson stated that there will be some work occurring around the Astrodome site.  He also stated that the County does a lot of work around developer projects, so if you keep an eye on the developers you will see the County not too far behind.  There are several projects still on the west side, up by the Grand Parkway and on the east side in Precinct 2.  Commissioner Morman has pushed a lot of road projects and plans to continue that into this year.

Gary Zika with Harris County Flood Control stated that he has a better year this year compared to last.  Last year there was only $25 million worth of projects and this year we are looking at $125 million in projects. There were two main reasons for the increase in funding; the first is Project Braes which is a Federal job with a reimbursement from the Army Corps of Engineers for about $38 million.  There are also two basin sections that are on a FEMA grant through the state.  He stated that they are still waiting for the grant to come through but there are two big projects on Greens bayou that will add another $38 million to the CIP.  Mr. Zika stated that most of their money was going into detention basins.  Willow Waterhole has 1.2 million cubic yards of dirt to be removed and there are two large basins on Greens bayou that will have a total of 5.5 million cubic yards of dirt that will have to be removed.

Quinton Alberto with Harris County Toll Road Authority said that they have about $166 million worth of proposed construction projects.  Four of the projects are for widening projects and five are for maintenance.  One of the key projects will be the widening and extension of the Hardy Tollway from FM 1960 to the Grand Parkway and includes connectors to the Grand Parkway. 

Dan Menendez with the City of Houston stated that the city has more small projects than big ones and stated that they do about 100 projects per year.  Mr. Menendez said that there is a construction list up on the City of Houston Bid Set location where contractors can go to download plans.  He stated that they have just added a location for 90% plans there as well.  The City is also looking at an electronic RFI and submittal process that hopefully will be up and running in the next couple of months.  He discussed the competitive sealed proposal bid that is currently out on the Shepherd drive reconstruction project.  Looking at the overall CIP, funding is continuing the progress upward.  The water and wastewater projects are fairly consistent, while the street and storm side are beginning to see the Rebuild Houston effort paying off old debt and allowing an incremental increase in tax revenue to be put toward street and drainage projects.

Mark Gardemal with the City of Pasadena said that they have grant funding for another dozen projects totaling about $12 million coming up in the next 90 days.  He went on to say that he has system and general funds totaling $59 million worth of paving , water, sewer and water treatment plants.   The City is hoping to get a CIP election going and is looking for support. 

Jimmy Vandever with the City of Sugar Land stated that they had a slightly smaller list of projects than last year.  Under airport construction there is a parallel taxiway and hangar project estimated at $800,000.  There are $3 million worth of drainage improvements on Sugar Creek that will be done as a competitive sealed proposal.  There is a Meadowcroft road construction project that is estimated at $1.2 million.  There will be a street reconstruction project worth $1.5 million in October.  Mr. Vandever stated that they do have some aging infrastructure and would be ramping up rehabilitation projects.  All the various rehab projects total out to almost $6 million.

Andrea Brinkley with the City of Pearland stated that they have moved into the arena of electronic bidding and electronic project management.  Mrs. Brinkley stated that she has about $43 million in capital improvement projects for 2014.  First quarter projects included a $2.4 million fire station and a $1.7 million water line along state highway 35.  In the second quarter there is a $4 million water line along McHard road and a $7 million sport complex that will be bidding.  Looking at the fourth quarter, Mrs. Brinkley stated that this is where the bulk of the work will be done with the highlight being the Max road expansion at $5 million.

Scott Elmer with the city of Missouri City said that they have roughly $24 million worth of projects over the next year.  Looking at the Vicksburg Boulevard extension, it is about $3.1 Million and should bid in the next couple of months.  Lexington drive extension is estimated at $3.2 million and is also coming out in the next couple of months.  There is a surface water transmission line to be installed in 2014.  It will be approximately four miles of line at an estimated cost of $6.5 million.  The Trammel-Fresno Blvd. widening is estimated at $1.6 million, Turtle Creek Drive reconstruction is estimated at $2.4 million and Gregory Blvd. reconstruction is estimated at $3.1 million.  Mr. Elmer also stated that Missouri City is also doing electronic bids and invites everyone to look into it and that they too will be doing a bond package this year.

Brock Lewis with the Port of Houston stated that the Port has about $300 million budgeted for this year, roughly 35 projects in the CIP.  The largest project will be the dredging of the ship channel to accommodate larger ships.  Mr. Lewis stated that they are still expanding the Barbour’s Cut and Bayport facilities as well as the turning basin.  Mr. Lewis stated that the Port used to bid work as competitive sealed proposals where multiple factors could be taken into consideration in awarding the bid.  Now, according to Mr. Lewis, the Port is doing a pilot program featuring the low bid system.  If the low bidder is capable of doing the work and meets a 15% small business requirement, you are awarded the bid.

Frank Andrews with Metro stated most of Metro’s budget in the past several years has been tied up with design bid projects for the rail. Now that those projects are beginning to wrap up Metro is beginning to transition back into a traditional design-bid-build program.  Mr. Andrews began his presentation by stating that all projects that Metro puts out will have a small business goal of, on average 35%.  Looking at the upcoming projects, Mr. Andrews said that they are looking to build a new Park & Ride facility on El Dorado Drive.  The Burnett street reconstruction will be advertised in the spring with an estimated value between $1 and $3 million.  Metro plans to build a bus to rail transfer station called Burnett Plaza at the corner of Burnett and Main Street with an estimated cost between $1 and $5 million.  There will also be a Grand Parkway Park & Ride advertised in late 2014 that will have an estimated cost between $1 and $5 million.

For a copy of the handout for this event please go to your HCA web page and download a copy.