SAN MARCOS — Crews continue to make progress on the construction of the new Via Vera Cruz bridge, one of the final major components of the city’s $100 million San Marcos Creek Project that is expected to wrap up this summer after three years of construction.
Crews finally poured concrete for the deck of the new Via Vera Cruz bridge in the first week of April after several delays due to ongoing rain, bringing the city one step closer to project completion and the restoration of a cross-creek connection to Discovery Street.
The new bridge, named the Pia Harris Evert Bridge in honor of the city’s first female city council member, will feature four lanes instead of the previous two, bike lanes, sidewalks and safety railings to improve accessibility for bikes and pedestrians.
This is the second and final bridge to be completed in the San Marcos Creek Project, following the opening of the new Bent Avenue bridge last summer, now called the Lionel “Doc” Burton Bridge after the city’s first mayor.
Deputy Mayor Sharon Jenkins, whose district houses the project, said it had taken many years to reach this point.
“We appreciate the residents having patience during construction and in these last final months as we bring this to completion. Staff started the planning, funding and other prior to construction work over ten years ago, and we appreciate their efforts to come up with the final product we will see soon,” Jenkins said. “As the final bridge opens, we’ll see residents traveling more safely in the Creek District area and amenities to respectfully support the natural environment.”
Both bridges were renovated to increase the elevation of the roadway to prevent flooding on the road from the creek when it rains. The new Via Vera Cruz bridge is around eight feet higher than the old bridge built in 1942.
The next steps for the Via Vera Cruz bridge include another concrete pour planned for April 12, utility coordination, installation of railings, lighting and paving, creation of curbs, gutters and sidewalks, and preparing Via Vera Cruz to be reopened from San Marcos Boulevard to Discovery Street.
As crews continue work on the Via Vera Cruz bridge, Discovery Street is also being expanded to four lanes with a new two-way turn lane and stoplights to improve traffic flow.
A sound wall is also under construction at Lakeview Mobile Estates to mitigate sound in the area.
City Councilmember Mike Sannella said the new bridge will be a “tremendous asset for our entire community.”
“Everyone is excited that the new Via Vera Cruz bridge is nearing completion. The new bridge will play a big part in helping traffic flow in that part of our city. I thank our staff for leading this major project from start to finish, and I thank our residents for their patience during construction,” Sannella said.
Crews are also undergrounding utility lines under the bridge.
Creek project leaders say crews are also making headway on a 1.2-mile loop trail that will run through Paseo del Arroyo Park. This new community space will provide recreational opportunities and lookout points over the creek.
Once open, residents can access the trail loop at entrances on the north side of the bridges later in the spring.
“The trail system is not yet open to the public. The Creek team is encouraging the community to avoid accessing the trails due to heavy equipment and construction activities in the area,” said project spokesperson Susanne Bankhead. “The team anticipates delivery of playground equipment and seating in mid 2023.”
The creek project team is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the summer to celebrate the completion of the project, Bankhead said.
The creek project is funded by local funding and state and federal grants.
For more information and updates about the San Marcos Creek Project, visit san-marcos.net/creek.