Road repairs take center stage for Port Arthur City Council

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2018

By Ken Stickney

Port Arthur’s elected city leaders made it plain to the public works department Tuesday that they expect a vigorous effort to repair and rebuild public roads.

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A lengthy exchange — not bitter, but stern — between elected leaders and staff members began during a presentation on the Port Arthur’s street rehabilitation program during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

Mayor Derrick Freeman asked first about formation of work crews to do in-house repairs and road construction, which Public Works Director Armando Guiterrez had previously discussed with the council.

Gutierrez said Tuesday’s presentation involved rehabbing roads, not building new ones, but first Freeman and then Mayor Pro Tem Thomas Kinlaw pressed the issue of getting more roads repaired or rebuilt faster.

The public works presentation said work on parts of three roads — 63rd, Anne and Susie — had been completed recently and Gutierrez said the three were done first so that his crews could get adequate training away from main roads.

But Freeman told Gutierrez that public works had made the same case — that they had repaired lesser-used roads first to gain training — more than a year ago.

“The stories are getting repetitive,” Freeman said.

“Why is it taking so long to get repairs,” Kinlaw, who represents District 3, asked. “We have potholes all over the city of Port Arthur.”

City Manager Harvey Robinson said on the matter of replacing roads — that’s tasked to contractors — the city had been “at the mercy” of a single contractor and that several roads had been prepped by city crews for replacement a month ago. The contractor, he added, has not finished the job.

“We cannot afford to be reliant on one contractor,” Robinson said, adding that the city would have its program with crews ready to go within 30 days.

In other action, the council:

·      Got news that Texas Gas Service Co. would be reimbursing Port Arthur customers $10.62 each, and that rates would decrease by $1.26 per month.