There is less traffic in the Capitol Complex since the pandemic “stay at home” orders were issued last month. Almost 90% of state employees are working from home. Field technicians, operations, security and support personnel, and other essential workers are the only ones working inside State buildings. Outside, the construction of the Texas Capitol Complex continues moving forward.
As you may recall, the Texas Capitol Complex construction project consists of six concurrent construction projects carefully planned so all will be completed in the Summer of 2022. Each major project is called a “package” and is managed by a professional construction company in coordination with Balfour Beatty, as Construction Manager Agent for Phase I of the Capitol Complex Project. Here is a brief update on the progress of each of the “packages”:
Package 1 – The Excavation
The excavation of the sites for the three new structures (two new office buildings and the Central Utility Plant) is complete. The excavation for the underground parking nearly done and on schedule. If you are watching the progress on the live cameras on our website, you can see that only the area between 17th and 18th Streets and the dirt ramp remains to be excavated. The ramp is required for access to the lower levels of the construction site. As the lower levels of the underground parking are completed the ramp will be relocated and eventually removed. (Contractor: JE Dunn Construction)
Package 2 – Utility Relocation
New buildings require new utilities. One of the most significant investments of this project is the addition of new utilities and the relocation of existing utilities to support the Complex. Most of the electric, water and telecom utilities have been installed. The last major component is a new storm water line that will carry runoff rainwater from the Complex to Waller Creek. The massive underground storm water tunnel feeding into Waller Creek at Trinity Street has been constructed in stages. The twenty-foot trench currently in progress at Brazos and 18th Street is one of the last sections of the storm water infrastructure. It is on schedule to be completed by June. (Contractor: JE Dunn Construction)
Package 3 – Central Utility Plant
Adding new buildings to the Capitol Complex also adds demand for cooling and chilled water. To support the new office buildings and to expand the overall capacity of producing chilled water, a new Central Utility Plant is under construction at the corner of Colorado and 17th Street. The excavation for the plant is complete and the ground level of the building is under way. (Contractor: JE Dunn Construction)
Package 4 – 1801 Congress Office Building
The flagship of the Capitol Complex is the new office George H.W. Bush building at 1801 Congress and MLK Blvd. This package is reaching two important project milestones. The first milestone is the completion of the five floors of underground parking, and the start of concrete work on the sixth level, which is the first above ground level. The building now “sees daylight” and will go vertical with above-grade parking and a 14-story tower. The second milestone is the completion of the mechanical systems below grade, which allows for permanent power for the construction project. See more about these updates here. (Contractor: Flintco)
Package 5 – 1601 Congress Office Building
The second building of Phase I of the Capitol Complex is the 1601 Congress office building. This building will be the new home to the Capitol Complex Child Care Center, a conference center and tenant offices. The construction of four of the five levels of underground parking for the building are complete. After the fifth level is completed this month, the building will be “out of the ground.” (Contractor: White Construction)
Package 6 – Underground Parking Garage and Texas Mall
The work on the underground parking structure beneath the Texas Mall will begin at the northern end of Congress Ave near the UT Campus. To provide more room for this work, the construction fence in front of the Bullock Museum is being moved onto the plaza of the Museum. Next, the bottom of the site will be prepared for the arrival of three additional cranes. (Contractor: White Construction)
Watch the progress of Texas Capitol Complex and all construction packages anytime by viewing the images from the project cameras.
Construction site safety is priority one for all the construction companies working on this project.
New safety protocols are in place to monitor workers’ health. Protocols include daily screening for temperature and general health. Only workers who pass the health screening may enter the jobsite. Additional handwashing and disinfection stations have been installed and full-time crews to disinfect high touch areas have been hired. Social distancing onsite and at break-times are required. And modifications to work schedules and shifts have been implemented to stagger crews onsite and support social distancing requirements.
The project’s construction companies, their subcontractors and trade partners have quickly embraced these new health safety protocols to protect their workers and livelihoods. The new health safety protocols will not affect the construction project schedule.