SAN ANTONIO -

In 2007, citizens voted to approve a $550 million bond to improve parks, widen roads and add drainage -- among other projects in San Antonio.

A few years ago, city managers realized they were going to have $47 million left over, enough for 25 bonus projects, all because of a downturn in the economy several years back.

"The recession dropped all of that down, so material pricing dropped down," said City Engineer Mike Frisbie. "(And it increased) the amount of contractors, (so) instead of having two or three contractors bidding on that work, we had 10 or 12, so it was very competitive."

Of the 25 projects, five have already been completed, including one at Redland Road and Loop 1604."

"With this funding, we were able to create a second right turn lane to allow people to bypass the cue of traffic and make their right turns there," Frisbie said.

Another completed project is the overhaul of the intersection at Thousand Oaks and Quarry Park near the soccer complex and Morgan's Wonderland.

"There's an intersection that was really breaking down (and resulting in) gridlock during certain events. So what we did is created a lot of ... right-turn lanes, expanded it out and rebuilt the traffic signal for that location," Frisbie said.

Projects currently underway include the Broadway/Hildebrand drainage project and sidewalks lining Bulverde Road from 1604 to Evans Road.

On the pre-construction list is the drainage improvement on Villarette from Highway 16 to Jennifer.

According to Frisbie, the biggest chunk of money -- more than $17.5 million -- was allocated for the Hemisfair Park street and drainage improvements.

Several million dollars was earmarked for studies only, accelerating the actual projects slated to be paid for by the 2012 bond.

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