While San Marcos residents will get the overpass they wanted when Loop 82 construction begins in 2013, the traffic they want to avoid will increase until the project’s completion.
Councilwoman Kim Porterfield, Place 1, said residents indicated San Marcos has needed an overpass in addition to the one on Wonder World Drive for years. She said residents have voiced that an overpass would increase public safety and ease traffic. The Loop 82 overpass will hopefully fulfill those needs in the long run, but its construction may be an inconvenience in the meantime, she said.
At least one lane will be open on each side of Aquarena Springs Drive throughout the project, Porterfield said. She said there are currently two lanes open in each direction, and residents should expect some delays. She said the first phase, beginning in 2013, will not cause much disruption for residents.
“I don’t think until phase two, when they actually start construction of the overpass, that it will really negatively impact people traveling on that road,” Porterfield said. “There are a lot of orange cones in San Marcos right now, and when the project starts, there’s going to be even more. But once we get through it, I think it’ll help (the city).”
Juan Miguel Arredondo is a city neighborhood commission representative for sector 2 and a public administration sophomore. He said as a lifelong resident of San Marcos, it is exciting to see the Loop 82 project move forward. Arredondo said as a resident and student, he personally knows the traffic congestion faced on Aquarena Springs Drive is “horrible.”
Arredondo said a complaint he hears consistently from residents is students cause traffic in the neighborhoods surrounding the university. He said many neighborhoods experience traffic at peak hours of the day such as 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“What we as a commission look forward to are the benefits related to traffic when Loop 82 is complete,” Arredondo said.
Porterfield said San Marcos has many at-grade railroad crossings with dozens of trains coming through the city every day. She said this causes an inconvenience for residents and prevents emergency vehicles from getting where they need to be.
Arredondo said the traffic congestion for residents who live off Sessom and University drives as far as the downtown area will hopefully lessen. He said because more students and residents will be driving on Loop 82, there will no longer be a risk of being stopped by a train.
Naomi Narvaiz, president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, said the group supports the Loop 82 overpass project and believes it will be good for the community.
Narvaiz and Porterfield said the project may cause slight inconveniences during its construction, but people will be pleased once it is complete.
“(The Loop 82 overpass) will affect many residents very positively in the end,” Porterfield said. “But the two years that it’s going to take to construct that overpass are going to be difficult for everyone.”