2 road projects add up to progress, headaches for people in one San Antonio community

Drivers forced to steer clear of Walters St. bridge, parts of New Braunfels Ave.

SAN ANTONIO – Two road projects that are meant to bring improvements to San Antonio’s East Side also have added up to headaches for people in that community.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is behind one of the projects that has shut down a bridge on Walters Street, just south of Interstate 35.

The work, which began in February of this year, will result in the bridge being resurfaced.

A photo recently taken of the Walters Street bridge shows a bumpy surface. However, a TxDOT spokeswoman says the area will soon be covered with a concrete overlay. It could reopen by Thanksgiving. (KSAT 12 News)

“We went up and we milled some of the old foundation off of it and we are doing a new concrete overlay on it,” said Tanya Brown, a public information officer for TxDOT.

Brown said the project originally was scheduled to be completed in August, but was delayed.

Vanessa Johnson, who walks the bridge every day, has noticed.

“Wow! It’s been going on a long time, and even when I was driving, I had to go down to the next (highway) exit.”

The Walters Street bridge is the most convenient route for Johnson as she walks her granddaughter to her school bus stop in the neighborhood.

They live just north of the bridge.

“It takes forever to walk over the bridge,” said Kinsey Brooks, Johnson’s granddaughter. “And, plus the other people need to drive through here.”

That includes Angela Gardner, who has been living in an apartment near the southern base of the bridge for the past six months.

Gardner says she has never been able to use it in the time she has been living there.

“It’s bad,” she said. “We have to come all the way down New Braunfels (Avenue), come all the way back up this way. It’s a mess over here.”

The detour, she says, often adds at least ten minutes to her commute.

Cones and barricades created a maze for drivers to navigate along New Braunfels Avenue. (KSAT 12 News)

Traveling through that detour has been another source of headaches, according to people in the community.

A strip of New Braunfels Avenue between I-35 and Houston Street, itself, had been the site of another construction project conducted by the city of San Antonio.

“The good news is the project is almost done,” said Razi Hosseini, the director of Public Works for the city.

Hosseini said the work on New Braunfels Avenue was part of a 2017 bond measure. It provided a $9.5 million overhaul to the area.

“It eliminates the flooding, brand new utilities. They don’t have to worry about water lines breaking, sewer lines not functioning,” he said, listing the improvements.

The project also includes some safety upgrades, such as repaved sidewalks and streets, he said.

In recent weeks, what had been a winding maze of orange cones has begun to disappear.

The work, Hosseini said, should come to an end any day.

The Walters Street bridge, though, will be closed at least a few more weeks.

KSAT 12 News recently flew a drone over the area, capturing video of the still-bumpy surface.

However, only two days later, Brown said a contractor was set to begin pouring concrete on the bridge.

“That overlay will take about 3 to 4 weeks to pour and to cure, and then we’ll open that bridge closer to Thanksgiving,” she said.

Neighbors, including Angela Gardner, say the end of the cone zones can’t come quickly enough for them.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.