, Port Arthur, Texas

March 7, 2013

No more washing buses by hand for Port Arthur

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — In about two weeks, construction will begin on the bus wash facility for the Port Arthur Transit Department, said Debra Ambroise, city transit planner. But it was not without delay.

If the City Council had not approved the resolutions required to move forward with the project last night, the Federal Transit Administration could have rescinded the grant funds it had pledged for this project, said Floyd Johnson, city manager, at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“This project has been a long time in the making,” he said.

The federal government expected to receive a phone call from the transit department Thursday morning, informing it that the project was on its way, Ambroise said at the meeting.

“This item been delayed one time too many times according to [the FTA],” Ambroise said. “It would adversely affect the city as whole if we do not approve this item tonight.”

But the motion passed unanimously, ensuring progress for the transit department, and the city informed the FTA that it would proceed with its project plans, Ambroise said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon. Construction should start in approximately two weeks on the bus auto scrubber facility, which would wash transit vehicles automatically.

“We are currently washing buses by hand, and that’s the problem,” Ambroise said. “The FTA wants the buses washed in a professional manner to maintain the livability of the buses.”

The new system would reclaim water used to wash the buses and be more efficient than the current system, said Timothy Barnes, director of architecture for the Nelson Collaborative, who designed the bus wash facility.

GADV Inc. will construct the auto scrubber facility for $791,000, which will be funded entirely by grants through the FTA.

The Nelson Collaborative engineered and designed the bus wash building for a cost of $62,500. The council extended the contract with Nelson Wednesday evening for another nine months to accommodate the delayed construction schedule.

PAT has other projects on its books, as well. A new administration building for the transit department was part of the auto scrubber project, but it has been delayed in much of the same way.

Ambroise did not specify what has delayed the transit projects but said the city would reward the contract for the office building in a few months. It was in the “early design” phase, she said.

Before the administration building can be constructed, the existing facilities need to be tore down properly, Ambroise said. The council approved that step Wednesday, as well.

GenTech Construction Co. will handle the asbestos and lead abatement and demolition of the transit structures on the corner of Procter Street and Dallas Avenue for $57,885.

The city will be using 10 buses from the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority for at least another year. The council approved the one-year lease extension Wednesday for a cost of $6,000.


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