The Wonder World Extension Project is running 70 days ahead of schedule, and if work continues at its current pace — weather permitting — it will be completed in April 2010.
“We are excited by the outstanding effort being devoted to the construction of this important parkway,” said Mayor Susan Narvaiz. “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, 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 I-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, said Avila.
Over a 10 year period, the city has also invested some $16 million in archaeological and environmental studies and mitigation to prepare for the project, as well as land acquisition.
“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,” he 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 and is financed by the City in a pass-through financing agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation. After completion, TXDOT will reimburse the city $3-$6 million a year for 10 to 20 years, based upon traffic volume.
— FROM THE CITY OF SAN MARCOS/MELISSA MILLECAM
PHOTO: Wonder World extension from its intersection with Ranch Road 12 as seen in this aerial photo. PHOTO by DON ANDERS