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Council considers overnight concrete pour exceptions for South Congress HEB project

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 by Kali Bramble

Among last week’s packed agenda, City Council debated a resolution that would grant the HEB redevelopment at Oltorf & South Congress a permit to pour concrete overnight. The project, which aims to open a new grocery by 2024, has the distinct potential to congest traffic at the intersection, thanks to lane closures for construction materials.

To expedite the process, Council Member Pio Renteria has sponsored a resolution granting permission for concrete installation at the site between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., a potential noise disturbance typically restricted to projects in downtown’s central business district. The permit would allow an estimated 27 overnight concrete pours between December of this year and April 2023, and would save three months of construction time.

 Council unanimously agreed to revisit the issue at its Oct. 27 meeting. In the meantime, Council Member Kathie Tovo, who represents the nearby Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek neighborhoods, pushed for greater outreach and notification measures.

“I’m trying to evaluate the outreach and how far the sound is going to transmit,” Tovo said. “Twenty-seven evenings overnight is potentially going to be a disrupted night’s sleep for people in the immediate area.”

Once completed, the Oltorf and Congress site of Austin’s oldest HEB will house a state-of-the-art100,000-square-foot grocery center with a beer garden, live music stage and underground parking garage. But this will take a lot of concrete pouring, which is currently restricted to hours between 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

HEB and contractor Spaw Glass have reportedly reached out to neighbors abutting the property on Euclid Avenue with gift baskets and a construction information session that took place Sept. 21. Once granted a permit, the team says it will also offer the neighbors $300 Visa gift cards per overnight pour.

Still, Tovo is concerned that a greater radius of residents could be affected, asking that organizations representing the Galindo, Bouldin Creek and Travis Heights neighborhoods be contacted for input.

“Back in 2014, we spent a lot of hours talking about concrete pours because there were some pretty strong feelings, and it was a long stakeholder process to look at changes to the hours,” Tovo said at last week’s work session. “It would be helpful to get some more information from Development Services to understand what we’re talking about in terms of impact and number of days.”

Those impacted by traffic or construction noise associated with the project can tune in next Thursday for an update.

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