San Pedro Creek redevelopment project to finish first segment next spring
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
The first segment of the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, a $53.4 million operation totaling 2,200 feet of creek development, is so far on track for completion for the city’s tricentennial observance next May.
Project officials said initial concerns about the project’s pace stemmed from changes in design plans and delays from utility relocation.
"Once we broke ground and actually started construction, things have been going very well,” said Suzanne Scott, general manager of the San Antonio River Authority. “We’ve had some rain, but because of our pre-planning, we were were able to get back operating very soon after the rain. The things that typically cause delays in construction projects in a channel or creek, we’ve been able to manage that."
Project manager Chad Yount, who oversees the joint construction venture between contractors Sundt and Davila, estimated that his team has lost five to six days from rain in 10 months of work. Meanwhile, historic or archaeological discoveries — things impossible to account for before construction — have at times forced the team to adjust their plans.
“You really have to be flexible,” Yount said.
Nevertheless, Scott said she is “very confident” the project will meet its targeted deadline, the date of an all-day tricentennial celebration on May 5. The ceremony, put on by the county and replete with food and performances, will start with a mid-morning grand opening and culminate in the lighting of the Plethora sculpture, a huge aluminum project by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada touted as the signature artwork at Tricentennial Plaza.
The first segment of the creek plan starts at the flood tunnel inlet beyond North Santa Rosa Street, near Fox Tech High School, and extends south to the Alameda Theater at Houston Street. That forms only a small part of the 2.2-mile project, which includes four phases that will cost an estimated $175 million. When finished, the creek project will terminate where San Pedro merges with the Alazán and Apache Creeks.
The project is a collaboration between Bexar County and the San Antonio River Authority with the city of San Antonio. The county has provided the bulk of the funding — $132.8 million to date, according to project officials — complemented by $19.5 million in bonds from the city and $6.6 million in utility reimbursements.
“All projects like this, you can't predict every minute,” said Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo. “We have put a lot of pressure on the construction company, as well as on the designers and engineers.”
Though much of the first segment remains a mixture of dirt and rock, key features of the creek are beginning to take shape. Compared with the untouched portion of the creek, merely a shallow concrete drainage ditch, the area under construction forms a channel as wide as 40 feet in places. The construction team, which began work in December, has installed various pipes, wall segments and other structures along the route.
When finished, paseos, or sidewalks, will line the creek. Aquatic plants will grow from the top of creek walls, accompanied by murals symbolizing the history and culture of San Antonio and Bexar County.
"One of the primary goals of the project, from the county’s perspective, was making these culture connections,” Scott said. “We have a pretty rich interpretive story that we’re telling along the creek.”
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