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Planning could save the city more than $1M

Kudos to Engineering Concepts and Design for the initial work on planning Ennis’ work on utility relocation for the U.S. 287 bypass project.
As work on that project speeds toward us in the coming weeks, the city will be held accountable for a number of projects to move utility lines that would or will be in the way of TxDOT’s work to expand U.S. 287. The project will, in the long run, increase access and smooth out traffic flow, hopefully serving the dual purpose of making the road a quicker drive and increasing the desirability of putting business along that stretch.

In the short term for Ennis, it means some significant costs. Todd Wintters, project engineer for the engineering firm, presented information Monday at the city’s regular commission meeting that seems to mean good news. We’ll likely save hand over fist because of work the firm did to update TxDOT on the current configuration of utilities in the area work is to be done.

What could have maybe been more than $2 million in projects has been tentatively reduced to under $500,000. Some of it is still in negotiation, as Wintters said plans to bring a 24-inch raw water line in the area into compliance with TxDOT’s needs are on shaky ground until the state reviews and OKs them. In the event the firm’s idea does not float, there will be more cost.

However, the city’s foresight in hiring an engineer quickly has saved a large amount of taxpayer money.

Instead of being blindsided by the need to fork over capital to move utilities and working without guidance, Ennis went to a professional for surveying and consultation. That move, in the end, will likely end up saving much, much more than that engineering firm is being paid for its efforts.

That’s a good deal no matter how you look at it, and one that shows relying on the state’s old data can be a bad idea. We’ll need to be just as prudent as we move forward with the physical utility relocation projects.

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Posted by on Nov 18 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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