Gerard Hudspeth, the mayor of Denton, has announced plans to speed up city construction and help keep citizens informed about the status of said projects.
The mayor is working with city staff on making an online report that will lists days construction sites are not being worked on, in hopes of keeping citizens up to date on projects. On the Denton County website, there are currently two road construction projects with dates listed. Both are estimated to be finished by the end of 2021, taking roughly a year each to complete.
“[It] is a pain point for citizens to drive by a construction site and not see people working,” Hudspeth said. “The report would note why the site is not active on a particular date.”
Hudspeth anticipates the city website, and its featured construction reports, to be updated around the new year. He said speeding up construction is a “team effort” and he wants to provide more flexibility to staff when it comes to making construction decisions.
“My specific role is to create policies to help the directors and staff,” Hudspeth said. “That flexibility will protect against long project delays.”
Some Denton residents are bothered by inaccurate construction dates.
“The only real gripe I have is that they never start [working on] or close roads when they say they are,” math freshman Conner Hughes said.
While the project status report would likely alleviate some citizens’ annoyance over dates, Hughes said he has lived in Denton his whole life and has “never seen trends change” when it comes to construction.
Another resident who has lived in Denton her whole life shared her thoughts on the city’s road construction.
“I think it takes way too long for any construction in Denton to be done,” North Central Texas College junior Rachael Ross said.
Several factors can cause construction projects to take longer than initially thought, Hudspeth said, with some even affecting the cost of the project.
“When the contractor cannot complete the work and has to be removed for cause, that is the most difficult challenge,” Hudspeth said. “It requires a lot of work to replace the contractor and recoup cost.”
A city policy to replace utilities during road construction can also cause project timelines to be extended. City staff does not always know what they will find and what work will need to be completed. The process concerning utilities “does not always go according to plan,” said Hudspeth, and is another reason exact dates can be hard to finalize.
“I feel like construction rarely is finished on time,” Hughes said. “However, I do understand that sometimes a job can seem easier than it actually is once you start working so it’s hard to put much blame on this.”
When projects take longer than expected it can cause inconveniences to residents, especially those who commute to school.
“I’ve had to take detours and had to sit in traffic,” Ross said.
Featured Image: The UNT indoor training facility can be seen behind construction on Bonnie Brae on April 17, 2020. Photo by John Anderson