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Fort Worth’s Construction Delays Saving City Millions

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth has dozens of road construction projects on hold for years even though tax payers approved the improvements.

“There was a time we were complaining because the roads, the streets had potholes, they always had potholes,” one north Fort Worth taxpayer named Adriana said. “And we were paying taxes and we weren’t getting any improvements.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price ordered the delayed projects to be put on the fast track.  Now, those delays that cost taxpayers their patience are actually saving tax money.

Fort Worth’s construction delays have followed the economy.  When voters approved bonds in 2004 the economy, and the costs to build, were soaring.  Then the economy tanked. Private developers and state agencies the city partners with on construction projects held onto their cash.  But, now they’re spending again and the delays are paying off.

“There’s a lot of competition out there for doing construction because there’s not a lot of other jobs throughout the metroplex or the Texas region,” said Director of Transportation and Public Works Doug Wiersig. “And we’ve really hit the sweet spot in the industry right now of being able to get jobs to come in and bid under our estimates.”

More competition for work means projects are turning out to be cheaper than the city planned on.  With just a dozen projects over a few months, they had planned on spending $30 million.  But cheaper construction costs meant the city spent just $23 million.  That leaves $7 million the city can spend elsewhere.

“Here’s an opportunity to create jobs on the contracting side of the labor force and take advantage of the lower prices being offered right now,” Wiersig said.

To find out about projects in your area of Fort Worth, check out the city’s interactive map at http://projects.fortworthtexas.gov/

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