Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Planned Aquarena Springs overpass sparks community concern

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TWC News: Planned Aquarena Springs overpass sparks community concern
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Plans are moving forward to build a bridge over the railroad tracks on Aquarena Springs Drive in San Marcos, something city leaders said has been needed for a long time.

More than 100 community members showed up to a public hearing Thursday to see the proposed project and give their input to its planners. TxDOT said it is doing its best to address safety concerns.

"Right now, there are a lot of little crossings through there, and anytime you mix automobiles and trains, not only is there potential for danger, but a little slower traffic," TxDOT spokesperson Chris Bishop said.

The planned overpass is designed to match Texas State University's neighboring football stadium. But it's what's on the other side of the street that has some residents worried.

The overpass is going to be built just a few hundred yards from Spring Lake, the headwaters of the San Marcos River. That has many environmental groups concerned about the construction process.

"I work at Aquarena and so I get to see what happens first hand when people don't respect it or whenever things don't go according to plan,” San Marcos resident David Long said.

The plan is to direct runoff from the construction site and future bridge to a retention pond away from Spring Lake and the river.

"Water from the entire drainage area basin is directed through this drainage area into the water quality, so we have a major improvement to the water quality system," Mark Borenstein with HDR Engineering said.

Construction is expected to take up to two years, and TxDOT said it’ll do what it can to limit the construction's impact on traffic.

"We know [State Highway Loop] 82 is a major artery here on the north side of the city, and we have to try to keep traffic flowing there," Bishop said.

TxDOT said when finished, the overpass will help keep traffic moving and protect the environment at the same time.

Public comment on the project will be accepted until April 1. You can give TxDOT your input by sending an email to AUS_Loop82@txdot.gov.

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