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Methvin Street reconstruction contract to go before council

By Richard Yeakley
June 9, 2014 at 10 p.m.

The second and most visible step of the downtown renovation project - reconstructing Methvin Street in front of the Gregg County Courthouse - will go Thursday before the Longview City Council.

East Texas Bridge Inc., which is overseeing the continuing renovation of Green Street, is expected to handle Methvin Street's work after submitting the lowest bid.

"We have several existing contracts with East Texas Bridge and those contracts are proceeding in accordance with the specifications," said Rolin McPhee, the city's public works director. "They are doing a good job."

With a bid of $3.27 million, the Longview company asked for about $500,000 less than what the city was expecting to pay.

"We were expecting about $3.8 to $4 million for construction," McPhee said, adding that when the project was included in the $52.6 million, 2011 streets bond package the total cost of engineering and construction was listed at about $5.5 million.

The savings, McPhee said, might be due in part to East Texas Bridge already having crews within a block of the project. The crew is already handling the Green Street reconstruction project, which is the first phase of the three-part project.

"They are already mobilized on site, and he viewed that as an extension of the project, opposed to a new project," McPhee said. "So we were able to save some."

If the contract is approved, the company will have between 45 and 60 days to begin work on the reconstruction of Methvin Street between Green Street and High Street.

Once the work gets started, McPhee said the company will have a full year to finish the job.

Representatives of those most affected by the work, the Gregg County Courthouse and business owners along Methvin, said they recognized that improvements often require some discomfort.

"Sometimes when you are making improvements, there is a discomfort level you have to deal with during the process, and that is going to be the case here," County Judge Bill Stoudt said. "We have a parking issue downtown when the courthouse gets busy, but there really is no other plan at this point."

Holly Forbes, of Forbes and Butler Visual Communications, praised the location near High and Green streets.

"We really enjoy having our office downtown, and while the street construction will be inconvenient for a while, we also look forward to how great it's going to look when complete," she said.

The final piece of the downtown renovation will target Center Street.

Work on Green Street between Methvin and Whaley streets, the last section of the street's renovation, is nearing completion. Work on Green Street at Tyler Street has been recently completed.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Longview City Hall, 300 W. Cotton St.



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