People who live and work near the FM 1187 reconstruction project — and grumble about it — could have something extra to cheer on Thanksgiving.The contractor has agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty for each day that the Cardinal Road/Farm Road 1187 intersection work is incomplete beyond Aug. 25 — ahead of the start of the school year — and a separate $5,000-a-day penalty for any paving work that remains after Nov. 22, a state transportation official told the City Council Monday.“If they fail to meet those two dates, then we will assess what we call a no-excuses penalty,” said Maribel Chavez, district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation’s regional Fort Worth office.The contract already includes another penalty of $1,100 a day that kicks in if the total project — including seeding, cleanup and other duties — isn’t completed by the contracted finish time, which Chavez said is in February or March.Brad Missler, vice president of Lone Star Civil Construction Inc., told the council he was confident the deadlines would be met.Outside the chambers, he said, “We’re not worried about it. We’re going to complete the project on time.”The state transportation department is managing the $7 million project to rebuild and expand a two-lane stretch of Farm Road 1187 into four lanes with medians from North Main Street west to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.Work started last summer but was halted in October because the state agency decided to redesign part of the project to improve drainage infrastructure and driveway connections to the road.The delay aggravated the headache for many motorists, including parents who drop off and pick up their children from Donna Shepard Intermediate School and Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School, near the 1187/Main Street intersection. Work resumed just this month. Last year, Lone Star drew heat from the city and many motorists for taking too long on the $13 million project to build service roads and loop-around lanes on U.S. 287. The contractor opted to pay a $1,400-a-day penalty so that it could put more workers on the FM 1187 project.Val Lopez, a spokesman for the state transportation agency, said the damages were assessed for 49 days.Also at the meeting Monday night, council members voiced enthusiasm for a planned upscale apartment complex on Debbie Lane but grappled with an apparent conflict with the city’s master thoroughfare plan, which calls for a 1,000-foot road extension that would cut through the property and likely kill the project.Developer Kim McCaslin Schlieker outlined the second phase of the Villas & Shoppes di Lucca at 1601 E. Debbie Lane, a mixed-use development that gave the city its first complex of apartments over first-floor retail businesses — a live-work-and-play community concept the city has been seeking.The second phase is apartments only — 272 units, averaging 18 per acre.But the city’s 20-year thoroughfare plan calls for an extension of a future road in Arlington that would run southeast from Matlock Road to Mansfield Webb Road, providing an alternative to the increasingly congested Matlock Road/Debbie Lane intersection.The Mansfield extension would be from Mansfield Webb to Debbie, a short section that would interfere with the development. But most council members, citing the property and sales taxes the project would create, said they were willing to delete that road section from the master plan when it comes up for routine review in a few months.Council members also said they wanted a commercial space next to the complex’s entrance to be reserved for a sit-down restaurant.The project was presented only as a concept plan to gauge council reaction. The developers will work up a more detailed and costly plan for council consideration and action.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641 Twitter: @Kaddmann