When San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial in May 2018, residents and visitors alike will be able to stroll down a portion of the newly restored San Pedro Creek – from its inlet to Dolorosa Street.
But the last stretch from Dolorosa Street to César E. Chávez Boulevard, the third segment of Phase 1 of the $175 million San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, won’t quite meet that deadline, project officials said Thursday at a San Pedro Creek Subcommittee meeting.
Time constraints related to permitting and construction processes have pushed the completion date for that portion to December 2018, when officials also anticipate completing Phase 2 of the project, said Kerry Averyt, watershed engineer for the San Antonio River Authority.
The official groundbreaking for the project took place last Thursday, but the River Authority is still weeks away from finalizing its contract with construction management firm Sundt/Davila Joint Venture.
River Authority officials will present the final contract to Bexar County commissioners on Sept. 27.
Averyt said the first two segments of Phase 1 are targeted for completion by April 27, 2018, giving project planners time to ensure that portion will be ready for the official Tricentennial events scheduled for the first week of May 2018. Officials anticipate meeting that deadline and the Phase 2 deadline, Averyt said.
In order to succeed, the project team is working to secure the necessary permits and finalize the six design packages for Phase 2 of the project. Those will likely be completed and released to Sundt/Davila J.V. on a rolling basis since the firms don’t need 100% of the designs in order to begin construction. Project officials are working with CPS Energy, SAWS, and several cable and internet providers to expedite utility relocation near the creek.
This process can be prolonged becuase it typically involves one company at a time rerouting its connections, Averyt said, but “we’re asking for multiple crews to come and work in multiple locations at one time.”
Suzanne Scott, River Authority general manager, said that the San Pedro Creek Project is unique since it is located in the city’s densely populated and developed downtown.
“This project will be very impactful to business and government, and we’re going to try to minimize that as much as possible,” she said, adding that the River Authority plans to keep the public involved with the “disruptive” project as much as it can through social media and a mobile app that lets users know about street closures and construction updates.
“We’re going to be doing the best that we can to coordinate it all,” Scott said, “but we need people to understand that it’s going to be a major construction project.”
Meanwhile, the creek’s art program continues to take shape. In June, Bexar County commissioners approved four finalists for the creek’s $750,000, permanent Tricentennial art piece, which will be located at the northeast corner of the so-called “Tree of Life” plaza off Santa Rosa Street.
The installation is anticipated to “celebrate the 300th anniversary of San Antonio and the history and culture along the creek,” said River Authority Executive Offices Administrator Bridget Hinze.
The finalists are currently working on special art proposals for the site, which will be reviewed by the community stakeholder group and art selection committee, Hinze said. River Authority engineers will also ensure that the piece can endure floods and other natural elements in the area.
The winning artist will be chosen by Nov. 1.
Top image: The San Pedro Creek channel downtown was designed for flood control. Photo by Don Mathis.