Waco: East Riverwalk expected to be completed by end of year

(Photo by Nestor Montoya)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Major development to the East Riverwalk have been made, and City of Waco officials anticipate the project to be completed before the end of the year.

"This project is important because it provides the last link along the downtown loop of the river walk," said Senior Park Planner for the City of Waco, Tom Balk.

The .6 mile segment will connect McLane Stadium to downtown.

Jay-Reese Contractor, based out of Dripping Springs, was awarded the bid on the project.

Construction began in February 2017.

The group previously worked on renovating the Washington Avenue Bridge in Waco a few years ago.

The $5.7 million East Riverwalk project was funded by the City of Waco and a federal grant.

During construction, Balk said there were several geographic challenges that altered plans and increased the price tag.

"The river bank is very steep right there. The soils are not really conducive to building a trail on the ground, and so the cost continued to escalate as we discovered that this was going to be primarily a bridge project. We have over 1,400 feet of bridge to get the trail out over the water," he said.

Portions of the bridge are elevated more than 10 feet above the river.

Jay-Reese Contractor has already installed most of the concrete decking to the elevated bike and pedestrian walkway.

Balk said the walkway will not only connect residents and visitors to downtown, but it will also result in a greater capacity for the city to host events like races.

"It takes a lot of the pressure off of our surface streets. It takes a lot of the conflict away from trying to manage vehicle traffic. It's going to be a safer experience for everyone," he said.