Above, Senior Project Engineer Kirk Abbott addresses crowd at dedication of Uhland Road project. Officials cut the ribbon opening the road to the community.
Photos by Lance Winter, GSMP
Major road project is now complete
Good things come to those who wait is how the saying goes. For those living along Uhland Road, the wait is over and their patience rewarded as the city of San Marcos snipped a ribbon Thursday marking the Uhland Road enhancement projects complete.
The improvement project added drainage along County Road, Uhland Road and a portion of River Road that included fully reconstructing the roads to meet city standards.
Enhancements to pedestrian and cyclist mobility were also addressed with the installation of a sidewalk along Uhland Road, and the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of Uhland Road and River Road to help improve safety. The project included the installation of a stormwater device that will help separate trash and hydrocarbons to improve the water quality that is received by the Blanco River.
Kirk Abbott, senior project engineer for the city, reminded those attending that next month will be eight years since the All-Saints Day flood and the Memorial Day flood–the catalysts for the funding the city received for this project and others.
Abbott thanked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for their Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program which was used in areas that meet the low-moderate income threshold, not just used for any project with drainage issues.
“I want to thank them for awarding this grant to the city and ultimately providing the funding for the design and construction of the improvements along Uhland Road,” Abbott said. “This project identified areas requiring significant drainage improvements to mitigate the effects during rain events. It also gives residents and businesses in this area an improved sense of safety and reliability.”
Abbott called the project “complex.”
“This is the culmination of a long and complex project,” Abbott said. “Design began in 2017 and here we are in 2023. I look back and I think, “How did it take so long?”
He explained this project has several moving parts. They had to deal with 0.8 miles of roadway and lots of paperwork when working with federal funds and environmental assessments.
“There's a lot of options to consider and permutations and things you've got to take account,” Abbott said. “We needed permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Parks and Wildlife. We had utilities that are not owned by the city, like gas and telecommunications that needed to be relocated, and that required a lot of coordination. We also had a right-of-way to acquire and easements.”
Abbott said as construction began, they were starting to feel the effects of the supply chain issues. Ultimately, the project was completed, Abbott said, and 30 inlets were installed to collect the runoff into 4,100 feet of storm pipe that will eventually enter the Blanco River as a new outfall.
“I'll give you a guess how many inlets and length of pipe there was here before–less than one. There were none,” Abbott said. “There's also a new drainage ditch by River Road with a new outfall to the river as well to help mitigate and hopefully eliminate a common road closure location when there's heavy rains on that section of road.”
He said all total they put down 18,000 square yards of pavement and 5000 tons of asphalt.
“We also have a new roundabout at the Uhland and River Road intersection of the low water crossing,” Abbott said. “Not only is that a far safer intersection than we had before, but it strategically conceals a large water quality device that goes almost 25 feet deep and is designed to separate trash, grit and oils from the water before it gets to the river.”
Abbott said they’ve added or rebuilt 3,800 square yards of sidewalks and improved mobility along this road corridor. They’ve also replaced two bus stops and added a third.
The project finished with a price tag of around $7.6 million.