San Marcos recently received a key go-ahead from a federal agency to begin work on a project to build two vehicular bridges over two flood-prone streets.
The Federal Highway Administration authorized construction for the Via Vera Cruz and Bent Avenue bridges on Aug. 16 and Sept. 10, respectively, Caltrans spokesman Ed Joyce said.
The local projects are under the FHA jurisdiction because federal dollars largely comprise the $100 million project budget, and the federal agency has delegated oversight of the project to Caltrans.
The authorizations mean the city can now move forward with contracts for a construction manager and a contractor, who will begin work on the projects as early as early 2019.
“The city is good to go start advertising the project,” Joyce said. “We have moved the process forward from this point.”
A city spokeswoman said there is no timeline yet as to when the city will solicit bids for the contractor, but earlier reports said that residents could see construction start as early as spring 2019, with completion expected two years later.
The bridges are part of a key infrastructure project that residents have anticipated for years, as both streets are frequently closed during heavy rains due to overflows from the San Marcos Creek that runs over both streets.
Improving the infrastructure around San Marcos Creek is part of a multi-pronged revitalization of what the city has dubbed the “creek district.” Two large affordable housing developments have gone in on the area’s eastern edge, and the city is currently retooling the master plan for the remainder of the district, after a consultant warned that it relied too heavily on retail.
In addition to the four-lane wide bridge at Via Vera Cruz and the two-lane wide bridge at Bent, the project also includes the widening of Discovery Street from two to four lanes between the two streets, a promenade park and bicycle and pedestrian amenities.