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By Paula Ann Solis
Cameron Park will be sectioned off with roadblocks for the next nine months and visitors will have to follow posted detour routes to reach their destinations.
Since the first week of August, Cameron Park Drive has undergone a $1 million reclamation project to repair the uneven road.
The entire project, which will be broken into three phases, will continue through May 2014.
Beginning at Redwood Shelter, 2300 Cameron Park Drive, and concluding two miles down at Lover’s Leap, the city of Waco’s engineering department will implement an eco-friendly, three-phase project to repair the road.
All traffic trying to enter the inner parameter of the park is being rerouted.
The different phases are meant to minimize the impact to park users during repairs, said George Hill, city of Waco engineering administrator.
The first phase of the project, from Redwood Shelter to Robin Road, has already been implemented and is projected to end by Oct. 21.
Then the second phase will begin at Robin Road and end at Emmons Cliff by March 2014.
The final phase, which will begin sometime in March, will start at Emmons Cliff and end at Lover’s Leap toward the end of May.
Reclamation is the process of repaving Cameron Park Drive by combining existing asphalt and soil with new cement to create new asphalt. This method recycles materials, minimizes waste and saves money for the city. The project is on schedule, Hill said.
“Reclamation of the road surface, an ecologically driven process, is the city’s preferred approach,” Hill said.
Hill said the city had expected the project to cost more than its $1 million price tag, which leaves engineers and developers with finances for additional projects near Cameron Park.
“Because of the low bid, we can stretch out our money and put ribbon curbs on the new road to protect from erosion, which it never had before,” said Waco Community Promotions Specialist Jonathan Cook.
Hill said even after the addition of curbs and the reclamation project, funding from the city of Waco’s Street Department would still remain for the addition of guardrails in dangerous, curved areas of road.
Storm drains in critical conditions will also be repaired during the construction, Hill said.
Cook said though the construction process will be long, he is sure it will not prevent people from enjoying the park’s amenities.
Only the road being paved will temporarily not be accessible to cars and runners. The surrounding park grounds will be open.
“Fortunately we have multiple access points to the park and the multiple trail system will remain open throughout this whole project,” Cook said.
Cook also said the park has prepared for all events scheduled to take place at Cameron Park between the start and completion dates.
“We have alternate routes prepared for the upcoming Race for the Cure 10K, the Miracle Match Marathon and the Bearathon in March,” Cook said. “We are now working on the route and the Bearathon will definitely run through Cameron Park.”
League City senior Marykate Becnel said she regularly visits Cameron Park with San Antonio senior Alix Wilson and both said the park’s construction is hardly noticeable.
“The only thing I noticed was the road was blocked,” Becnel said. “We had to park farther away, we usually park at Jacob’s Ladder because we run the River Trail. So we walked farther, but it wasn’t a huge deal.”
Wilson said the small inconvenience is nothing compared to the improvements that will be added to Cameron Park.
“I took aerobic running last year and a girl who swerved on the curved part of the street hit a tree,” Wilson said. “Guard rails will really help especially when traffic is coming too fast.”
For updates on the construction progress at Cameron Park, visit cameronparkwaco.com. Or to see the park as it changes, visit Cameron Park’s Instagram at instagram.com/wcoparksandrec