SAN ANTONIO – The Public Works Department and San Antonio Water System have given conflicting timelines on why a $972,000 road repair project in an East San Antonio neighborhood was interrupted earlier this year to make way for the installation of a new water main.
Crews working on behalf of public works had completed a “significant portion” of the project on Castle View Drive in the East Village neighborhood -- which included replacing curbs and sidewalks and repaving the road -- when the city agency was informed by SAWS in March that it needed to make water infrastructure upgrades in the area, PWD Chief Communications Officer Paul Berry told KSAT.
“We get together beforehand, before any construction, with SAWS and CPS (Energy) and other utility folks to make sure that before we start to do any work if they need to do any utility upgrades on the street -- that they have that opportunity to do so. In this case, both CPS and SAWS said that they did not need to do it, and then we went ahead and did our work,” Berry said.
“If I lived on this street I’d be frustrated,” said Berry, as crews working on behalf of SAWS installed large water lines in a trench cut through the middle of the street behind him.
Berry said the typical process is to have SAWS and CPS Energy complete any utility upgrades in the area before making way for crews to complete road repairs.
During an interview this month, a SAWS spokeswoman confirmed that the utility originally opted out of making infrastructure upgrades under Castle View, but she contradicted Berry’s timeline of when they informed the city that they would actually need to do the replacement work.
SAWS Communications Manager Anne Hayden said the utility apprised the city of the change in 2021.
“While we had initially declined to participate, we saw that it really would be best for the area if we did add that into it,” Hayden said.
Hayden said the decision to move forward with upgrades came after an external consultant put Castle View at the top of the list for infrastructure replacement after examining what facilities in the area its water lines serve.
“I think if you look at this situation, it’s an anomaly that this is something that isn’t typical of what we need to do,” Hayden said.
The nearly $4.5 million water main replacement project was approved by the SAWS board of trustees in early October after a bidding process, utility records show.
Both Berry and Hayden said SAWS will be responsible for repairing the damaged curbs and sidewalks, some of which were so new that they still had the wood forms in place.
“It’s going to be an amount of money that we shouldn’t have had to take care of, but because of the circumstances, SAWS has agreed that they are going to take care of the sidewalks and the curbs,” said Berry when asked to give a monetary value for the work that had to be subsequently torn up.
“It’s not going to be the same.”
Stuck in the middle of this construction blunder are the residents who live on Castle View.
Rick Knoch, who has lived in his East Village home for 27 years, took photographs documenting the initial road repairs and then the tear-down.
“You come right back in about two months after it’s done and tear it right back up again. And it’s not going to be the same,” Knoch said.
Knoch said the section of road in front of his home appeared to be a final layer of pavement away from being completed prior to the SAWS project beginning.
He said he was at first grateful that the city was resurfacing the street and replacing sidewalks that had become so warped that children were not able to ride their bicycles on them.
“I’m not going to say we didn’t appreciate it, because we did. I don’t want to complain, but someone’s got to,” Knoch said.
Berry confirmed that the section of Castle View that runs into Heather Pass has been fully resurfaced and is not part of SAWS’ water main replacement project.