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Baylor Researchers Map Geological Makeup of City of Woodway

Sept. 29, 2009

In conjunction with the City of Woodway, Baylor University geologists have mapped the geological makeup of the area that encompasses Woodway, located west of Waco. The information is compiled on an interactive website, giving residents, city builders and developers much needed information on the best places to place structures, utilities and streets within the city limits.

"The natural features that make Woodway such a great place to live also can create some challenges with building design and utility construction," said Yost Zakhary, city manager of the City of Woodway. "The geological survey will assist developers and homeowners and will be a very useful tool for what is usually the single largest investment of most families, their home."

Many of the steep slopes and hills in Woodway are made up of both hard Austin chalk, which erodes slower, and a softer shale, which can swell when wet. These two different materials combined with the many slopes in the area can cause numerous problems for builders, such as landslides, when there is a change in weight or moisture amount on a slope.

Dr. Joe Yelderman, professor of geology at Baylor, and his team of researchers divided the city into five different zones depending on the geological makeup of that specific area. Each zone has information relating to specific lots, geological makeup and links to any building ordinances that may dictate what can or can not be placed on the property. Baylor and City of Woodway have now put up the information on an interactive website.

Woodway is one of only two cities in Texas that has such a website detailing the geological makeup of the city.

"If you wanted to develop a residential area or if wanted to build a shed on your property, this map will show if you are in a problematic area and what zoning or building restrictions or ordinances are in place," Yelderman said. "This tool will actually improve the community through better decisions because of better access to correct information."

The interactive website is available here.