Heat delays opening of MoPac express lanes

Construction along North MoPac on Dec. 18, 2015.
Construction along North MoPac (KXAN Photo/Dani Guerrero)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The MoPac Express Lane project is already nearly a year behind schedule and now new delays are pushing back the opening date yet again.

The section of express lanes from 2222 to Parmer Lane was set to open Saturday or the contractor was going to face some hefty fines. KXAN has learned that date has been set back to sometime in August and the contractor isn’t going to face a fine, at least not yet.

“They are liable for some fines we call them liquidated damages up to $20 million,” says Mike Heiligenstein, Ex. Dir. CTRMA. “But we are waiting to see how they perform and see if they are going to meet their next deadline of August for the northern opening. We would then go and calculate the number of days where it was the rainy part of the year where things slowed down. But we are looking at that and we analyze that every day.”

The Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says the reason for the latest delays are due to the heat which is making it hard to pour concrete. The contractor has also been facing a labor problem not getting enough workers out to the job site.

“We’ve put the contractor on notice and we feel they need to ramp up the number of people on the job and the slippage in the number of people is not acceptable,” said Heiligenstein.

The other section of the Mopac Express Lanes from 2222 to the river is expected to be finished Nov. 29, which is the date set months ago.

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