Like a lot of motorists who have to use FM 1187 west of North Main Street, Sarah Claburn is tired of the mile and a half of road construction and traffic. And she’s tired of the bumpy temporary driveway into Mary Jo Sheppard, where her daughter is a fourth-grader.“That driveway is hard on your car,” Claburn said. “And if you have to try to get back out on 1187 from the school, you're encountering people who are blocking the driveway.”Adding to the frustration, she said, has been the work slowdown that has occurred over the past several months, as engineers redesign parts of the $7.4 million project to smooth driveway connections and fix drainage issues.Val Lopez, spokesman for the Fort Worth regional office of the Texas Department of Transportation, said he expects work on the redesigned sections to begin in May. The entire project should be finished “before the end of the calendar year,” he said.“We have been doing work up to this month on other aspects of the project,” Lopez said. “It hasn't stopped us from working. At this point, we can begin very shortly addressing the redesign and start executing it.”The project, which is being funded with state and federal money – no charge to the city -- will convert a 7,200-foot stretch of the two-lane, asphalt road and bar ditches into a four-lane, concrete thoroughfare with raised-curb medians, curbs and gutters, from just west of North Main Street to Newt Patterson Road.The westbound lanes have been completed except for a section between Gertie Barrett Road and and Bludworth Road where the redesign is focused..City and school officials had hoped the improvements to 1187, which runs by both Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School and Donna Shepard Intermediate School, could be finished by the start of the next school year in August.Lopez said he could not be more specific about the projected completion date but added, “We’ll work hard to minimize the impact on school traffic.”Construction started last summer and was expected to be finished in February of this year, but progress stalled last fall with the redesign decision. Lopez said officials realized the rise and fall of the rebuilt road’s elevation would make for awkward connections with business and residential driveways and cause drainage problems.“Essentially, what we're doing here is converting a rural roadway into an urban facility,” Lopez said. “When you do that you have changes to elevation. We realized that may cause issues in the future, so instead of kicking it down the road we’re doing it now.”David Boski, Mansfield city transportation engineer, said the state now is working out change orders and costs for the redesign with the contractor, Lone Star Civil Engineering.“We do hear some complaints here and there, especially about lack of progress,” Boski said. “We try to address them as best we can.”U.S. 287 Project UpdateThe $13 million project of U.S. 287 improvements -- including turnaround bridges, new service roads and decorative monuments -- is “99.99 percent completed,” Boski said.“Painting is done, landscape and irrigation is installed,” he said. “Now it’s just the establishment of the grass and vegetation. There are some bare spots where grass hasn’t taken yet, or where there are more weeds than grass.”Lone Star – the same contractor on the FM 1187 project – drew the ire of city and state officials last year for leaving the 287 construction site abandoned for long periods while its crews worked on other jobs. The contractor opted to pay a $1,400-per-day penalty for most of last year rather than complete the work on time.“For all intents and purposes, that job has been done for many months,” Lopez said.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641 Twitter: @Kaddmann