A look at future infrastructure options as Santa’s Wonderland, south Brazos County grows
Santa’s Wonderland estimates 400,000 visitors this year.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Santa’s Wonderland is expecting a new record crowd this year and if you’ve been by recently you’ve seen long lines to get in at peak times.
Santa’s Wonderland officials said they had around 325,000 visitors last year. This year they project they could see a record 400,000.
Growth in that part of the county has residents hoping for more solutions to the infrastructure in that area.
Over the weekend we heard from multiple drivers about longer lines than usual at Santa’s Wonderland. Things got backed up along the access roads of Highway 6.
“This past weekend was a perfect storm,” said Jody Aranda, Santa’s Wonderland Safety and Traffic Coordinator. “We had the Texas A&M game that ended early and we had a lot of folks that were headed home from the game and that game corresponded with our opening weekend.”
Aranda took us behind the scenes to show us ways they are enhancing getting into the park. An additional 15 acres is being prepared for parking and opens soon. Tuesday afternoon trucks were hauling in material to make that happen.
There are also items on their wish list including new signage.
“We are in the talks with TxDOT to be able to put in turn lanes in the future. We’re working on to see if we can start getting that implemented next year,” she said.
Brazos County Judge Duane Peters tells us TxDOT will have to take the lead on future road projects here because it’s in their right of way.
“It’s a discussion that TxDOT will certainly have to be involved in. We don’t mind sitting down and trying to see if there’s a way that we can help solve some of that problem out there,” said Peters.
“We of course expect traffic but this first weekend it was really overwhelming especially dealing with the traffic for those of us here in the neighborhood trying to get in and out of the neighborhood,” said Joshua Coleman, a Southern Pointe resident. He said he noticed more traffic this season than last, and hopes for long-term solutions.
“We’re going to have a lot of traffic and we want them to come to College Station and to visit. You just don’t really want to deal with that traffic to get in and so even if it’s like some dedicated turn lanes or even you know maybe traffic signals or at least some kind of traffic control, those will really probably help out a lot,” said Coleman
Santa’s Wonderland said over 85% of all guests are from outside the Brazos Valley. More than 60% are first-time visitors and a majority of those have never been to College Station before.
Right now TxDOT doesn’t have any formal plans for this area but they said the park does submit a traffic management plan each year.
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