By Van Littrell, HOA Board Member, Creek Operations Committee
Anyone who lives on or walks the creek over the past 15 months has most likely noticed a couple of improvement issues. First, as part of a previously passed Dallas bond package the city identified 4 locations along the creek between Whitehurst and Middle Downs for installing gabion walls to help prevent further erosion in those areas. Second, you will have noticed there has been no activity for several months and the job is unfinished.
We are told the delay was triggered by two separate but related issues. First, the city and contractor determined that “end caps” need to be put in place on each of the gabions installed. This work must be planned out, approved and ordered. In the interim, the contractor moved on to other creeks identified in the project, such as the area near Arbor Park and Whitehurst. Second, the overall project is now over budget and the contractor is refusing to perform more services until a change order is executed and they are paid. We have been told that the change order is currently in process.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an estimate as to when the contractor will be back. Finishing the job includes installing the “end caps”, cleaning up the creek bed and returning the Middle Downs access area to its pre-construction state.
On another issue we have good news. The board has been constantly in the ear of the city regarding what we have deemed to be an actual safety risk along the creek. Our residents as well as the school children who often use the creek as a passage way to and from Forest Meadow Jr. High School could be affected. Our concern has been focused on the gabion wall commencing at the end of Branch Hollow moving west toward Whitehurst Drive. Along that stretch there is an extremely steep grade just off the sidewalk down to the wall where there is then a 30-foot drop to the creek floor. Currently there is no barrier to prevent certain catastrophe should someone fall. The contractor has agreed to come in without waiting on any change order and erect a chain link fence along the sidewalk for the entire length of the gabion.