At the Dec. 11 meeting of the Water and Wastewater Commission, Austin Water presented an update on the 65 active transportation improvement projects that necessitate the repositioning of water utility lines. Of those projects, 56 percent are in the planning period, 22 percent are in the design stage, 17 percent are in construction, and 5 percent are still in the bid phase.
“I am really blown away by the amount of work that is here,” said William Moriarty, chair of the commission. “This is a lot more of this stuff than you normally do.”
Under Moriarty’s questioning, the Austin Water team estimated that it is doing approximately double the work now that it was doing five years ago, but with the same five-man team as before.
“Do you all have enough resources to take care of all this?” Moriarty asked. “I appreciate the hard work that you must be doing to keep this all together.”
Bill Stauber, the utility’s interim assistant director of engineering services, assured Moriarty that his team had it under control.
“You’re not wrong for the question and the concern, but I would say that we’ve got a great staff that’s got a lot of good experience,” Stauber said. He added that he was monitoring the situation and would consider hiring some temporary staff if necessary.
Kevin Koeller, managing engineer at Austin Water, explained that the utility is currently partnering with six different transportation agencies or municipalities that need utility alterations, including the Texas Department of Transportation, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Travis County, Williamson County, the city of Austin and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“It’s a lot of projects,” Koeller said. “The team works very hard to keep on top of all the growth and all the work that the agencies are doing in widening roadways.”
Read more from Katherine Corley with Austin Monitor here.