SAN ANTONIO – The pedestrian walkway over Castroville Road was a bridge to safety for many families on the West Side.
The driver of a dump truck crashed into the bridge on Tuesday morning, causing it to collapse on the road.
The bridge stood for decades over the 1900 block of Castroville Road and was dedicated to West Side resident Pedro Romero in 1978.
He petitioned the city to build the bridge to keep children safe from crossing the busy street.
Children and families would have to cross Castroville Road to get to Gardendale Elementary School or the Madonna Childcare Center.
“With his walker at 70 years old, he went house to house, up and down the streets, getting signatures for his community and for the children,” said Rosemary Mancera, Romero’s granddaughter. “Having to use his walker, being elderly, and he still had that vision.”
Romero also wanted the bridge built because of the flooding issues on that stretch of Castroville Road.
“He would come in the morning, and he would see the kids running across the street. Kids would be here ready to cross, and they would get splashed by water,” said Mancera. “He had pictures of kids rolling up their jeans, taking off their shoes to get to school, and try to stay dry.”
Mancera’s mother told her about the bridge collapse.
“I heard it in her voice and asked, ‘Is this grandpa’s bridge?’ And she was crying,” said Mancera. “I was pretty hurt. I was kind of like, ‘Wow, this dream just came tumbling down,’” said Mancera.
Mancera said her family has been in contact with City Councilwoman Teri Castillo’s office to get the bridge rebuilt. A spokesperson for Castillo’s office said they are committed to finding a solution with the Public Works department and intend to rebuild it for the neighborhood.
Mancera said her mother and family want the bridge rebuilt for the same reasons their grandfather fought for it. The family has created an online petition to keep Romero’s dream alive.
“It is a reminder of what her father did for the community — his determination to get this built,” said Mancera.
She said Romero’s plaque at the bridge represents family pride and looking after one another in the West Side neighborhood.
“My mother still lives a few blocks away. She drives under this bridge every day,” said Mancera. “It took one person to knock it down, it was an accident, and it’s going to take a community to rebuild it.”