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COVER: Mayor Daniel Guerrero cuts the ribbon Sept. 29 to celebrate the completion of construction on N. LBJ Drive. PHOTO by DARYL ONTIVEROS/THE UNIVERSITY STAR

by EXSAR ARGUELLO

Mayor Daniel Guerrero, city council members and citizens joined together Tuesday morning at the corner of North LBJ and Forest Street for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The event was intended to celebrate the completion of renovations on North LBJ that ended this month after the road was blocked off for construction for almost two years.

“The new road has truly brought in a new sense of beauty and pride to this area of the city,” Guerrero said. “We know this will help tremendously in regards to safety and business services that are around this area.”

According to a city press release, the road work began Oct. 14, 2013, lasting almost two years. The project, led by Capital Excavation of Austin, widened the roadway, added bike lanes and sidewalks and upgraded the drainage system.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero speaks Sept. 29, in the parking lot of Gtans, at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of N. LBJ Drive..

The city spent $7 million on the road alterations, according to the release. Before the project’s completion, motorists and pedestrians were detoured to Chestnut street. The detour took drivers and cyclist southbound back to the intersection of North LBJ and Sessom Street.

“I live at Hill Side Ranch and I’m just really happy the construction is finally done,” said Jeffery Fitzgerald, sound recording technology sophomore. “The detour wasn’t that big of an issue, but using the new road straight down to campus is a huge plus.”

Fitzgerald said he now feels comfortable walking to campus due to the road’s completion.

“The road is bigger and there is more space,” Fitzgerald said. “The flow of traffic is fine and everything has been good so far.”

Shaun Condor, senior project engineer for the City of San Marcos, said the biggest challenge of the project was the amount of pedestrian traffic going through the busy intersection and street.

During the project, the city encountered a lot of ground water and hard rock beneath the structure of the road, which increased the difficulty of the task, Condor said.

“Every utility under the road has been completely changed and the infrastructure has been revamped to accommodate a larger space, complete with bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks,” Condor said.

Guerrero said safety was a “big proponent” in renovating North LBJ. The project became a priority for the city due to the amount of students and citizens who utilize the street on a daily basis along with bus and resident traffic in the area.

“The cost of the project allowed us to stay away from debt and finish the project with a good schedule frame,” Guerrero said. “Overall, the project is a stepping stone for the city and will show precedent for other construction projects for the future of the city.”

Fitzgerald said he feels safer walking home from class because of the renovation of the street.

“The sidewalks and the amount of space you have to walk makes you feel comfortable, especially when you’re walking on such a busy road,” Fitzgerald said.

EXSAR ARGUELLO reports for The University Star, the student newspaper of Texas State University, where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the University Star and the San Marcos Mercury.

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