San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 2nd, 2009
Wonder World extension ahead of schedule

Bridge pillars go up on the Wonder World Drive extension. Photos by the City of San Marcos.

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos officials say the Wonder World Drive extension project is running 70 days ahead of schedule. If work continues at its present pace, weather permitting, the project will be completed in April 2010.

“We are excited by the outstanding effort being devoted to the construction of this important parkway,” San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said. “The city council is deeply committed to a signature project that will be aesthetically beautiful, environmentally sound, and provide mobility on the roadway as well as on bicycle and pedestrian trails.”

The project was designed by Kellogg, Brown and Root of Austin and is being built by J.C. Evans Construction of Leander. As of May 26, the project was 28 percent complete, based on a 617-day construction schedule. Construction began in late November 2009.

At the current rate, the project will be completed in late April of next year, said Sabas Avila, the city’s Assistant Director of Public Services-Transportation.

The Wonder World Extension is a 3.2-mile divided parkway linking Ranch Road 12 to the current Wonder World Drive (FM 3407) at Hunter Road. Wonder World connects to Interstate-35 at the 202 exit.

The project has reached the following stages of completion:

* Purgatory Creek drill shafts and columns -completed
* 7 of 21 bridge supports – completed
* 90 percent of four out of five water quality ponds – completed
* 60 percent of retaining walls –completed
* 90 percent of excavation-completed
* 80 percent of embankments-completed
* 70 percent of reinforced concrete – completed
* 95 percent of concrete box culverts-completed

The city and contractors are working to provide a “greener” roadway project by adding tree protection walls, ditch grading to preserve trees, intersection landscaping, wildflower seeding, and hike and bicycle trails for travelers along the roadway, Avila said.

During a 10-year period, the city has invested about $16 million in land acquisition, as well as archaeological and environmental studies and mitigation to prepare for the project.

“This project will provide access to both vehicles and bicycles on the roadway and to bike and pedestrians trails adjacent the roadway along a scenic part of our city,” Avila said. “In addition, it will relieve traffic in downtown San Marcos and historic neighborhoods associated with through-traffic from western Hays County and I-35.”

The limited access parkway is bordered by more than 500 acres of the Purgatory Creek Preserve, dedicated parkland in the city.

The $26.38 million road project is the largest in San Marcos history. The city is financing it in a pass-through financing agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). After completion, TxDOT will reimburse the City $3-$6 million per year for 10 to 20 years, based on traffic volume.

An aerial shot, taken in May, of the Wonder World Drive extension dove-tailing with RR 12.

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6 thoughts on “Wonder World extension ahead of schedule

  1. I was wondering if there will be commercial development allowed along this extension. I was hoping there would not be. Is this where the city is hoping to build a government building? It would be best if we could just not have anything along there.

  2. It is a limited access parkway, meaning it is similar to the interstate but withtout an access road. There is no access for development.

  3. The government building will be down by the overpass between Hunter and I-35, which just happens to be in a flood plain

  4. Funny… several people made that comment to the county when they were evaluating sites. Just wait… I’ve got a feeling the rabbit hole will get pretty deep with this government center, given the location, property owners involved, and personalities on the Commissioners Court.

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