San Marcos Creek Project nearing completion as last stretch of Via Vera Cruz closes for construction
The San Marcos Creek Project is nearing completion. The city on Thursday closed the last stretch of Via Vera Cruz for crews to install some much-needed infrastructure.
Some of the work includes installing storm drains, curbs and gutters, paving the road and sidewalks, striping the road and adding bike lanes.
For residents and businesses next to the creek, construction fatigue has more than set in.
Tim Lyons has lived on Discovery Street by Via Vera Cruz for more than 11 years. His front yard used to be landscaped with rows of trees and a manicured lawn. Now, there's dirt and gravel.
Crews have been digging trenches by his house to install a retaining wall.
"And I'm afraid when they did all of that, they had exposed the foundation wall of my garage, and so I think what has been holding up my garage has kinda gone away," he said.
The San Marcos Creek Project has been going on for more than three years. For Ruth Ceron, it’s affected her business. Her family owns the Sub-Marine sandwich shop at the other end of Via Vera Cruz by San Marcos Boulevard.
"Well, it has been affecting our customers from coming to the neighborhood behind us," she said. "It was supposed to take only a certain amount of time and it's taking longer."
The project was supposed to be completed this past spring. But the last leg of the project is going to affect Ceron's shop and businesses at Via Marco Plaza and Galleria Vera Cruz the most.
This stretch of Via Vera Cruz was open for customers to access these businesses. Ceron said the only way customers can reach her shop is through a small driveway on San Marcos Boulevard.
With traffic, sometimes customers don't even try, she said.
"I've had customers tell me they gave up after waiting a long time at the light," Ceron said.
Isaac Etchamendy, the project engineer for the city of San Marcos, said he understands residents' frustrations. He said part of the delays stemmed from the rain we had this winter.
"We are in the last few months of the project. This will be one of the last few things getting done with the project along with Discovery (Street)," Etchamendy said. "Over the next few months, there’s going to be construction and habitat restoration. We’re in the final throes of it.”
When completed, the Via Vera Cruz bridge will have a pedestrian walkway and a bike path. The old bridge was wooden and did not have a sidewalk.
Lyons said he's had enough of the construction delays. That's part of the reason he's selling his home of 11 years, but is having a hard time finding a buyer because of the ongoing construction.
Construction is expected to last until the end of the year. Etchamendy said despite the delays, the project is still on budget at $114 million.