The city of San Marcos will begin a $2.7 million project to improve parts of Sessom Drive next spring. The project will widen sidewalks, improve intersections and add erosion controls along Sessom from Aquarena Springs Drive to North LBJ Drive.

The project will be funded by the city, Texas State University and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the group responsible for organizing transportation projects in Central Texas. The city will fund $1.55 million, CAMPO will contribute $689,000 and Texas State will add $340,000, according to a presentation shown to City Council May 19.

Project Engineer Shaun Condor said the city reduced the project area, which formerly stretched from Aquarena Springs to Comanche Street. The city also plans to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of Aquarena Springs and Sessom.

City officials are concerned about the safety of pedestrians crossing from the north side of Aquarena Springs to Sessom. Under the new configuration, cars turning right from Aquarena Springs onto Sessom will receive a protected green arrow at the intersection, meaning they may turn onto Sessom, or a red arrow, indicating they cannot turn. Under the current configuration, drivers are coming through the intersection looking for other vehicles, but are not looking for pedestrians, council members said.

The signal configuration for cars coming from downtown toward the Aquarena Springs/Sessom intersection will also be adjusted to improve safety, Condor said.

“When it’s all said and done we’ll be able to provide a protected walk period for pedestrians crossing Sessom when the pedestrian signal is activated,” he said.

The project will also include widened sidewalks from Peques Street to Texas State Facilities building located at 151 E. Sessom Drive. The current sidewalk is 5-feet wide, but it will be widened to 10 feet.

The outside lanes of Sessom Drive will be designated as shared roads for use by cyclists and motorists. Additionally, cyclists will have the option of riding on the widened sidewalks.

“You have some diehard [cyclists] who hate riding on the sidewalk,” Condor said. “They got to go from A to B and they want to get there as fast as possible. When you put them on the sidewalk they’re dodging pedestrians. We want to give them both options.”

Condor said the city is working with Texas State to acquire the necessary right-of-way for the project. The project timeline may be delayed 6-9 months if the right-of-way acquisition takes longer than anticipated.

Aquarena Springs construction

TxDOT also began construction on the Aquarena Springs Overpass the week of May 18. The project will construct a bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks that cross Aquarena Springs near Bobcat Stadium.

TxDOT officials said the project is expected to last about two years and will cost $20.7 million. Officials have also said they expect traffic delays to be minimal, and work on the project will be staggered in a way that will force few lane closures during the course of construction.