San Antonio Bridge project is months ahead of schedule

The much-maligned San Antonio Street bridge construction project is several months ahead of schedule, according to officials with the city of New Braunfels. Expected to impede traffic accessing the downtown area for an initial estimate of 16 months, there is a possibility that contractor Capital Excavation could finish the project and open the San Antonio Street bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic by the end of summer 2020, said Greg Malatek, New Braunfels public works director.

The San Antonio Street bridge first closed to vehicular traffic Sept. 3, and demolition began Sept. 19. The project remains on track to allow Comal River recreation beneath the bridge before Memorial Day, Malatek said.

The primary reason for the shortened timeline is the usage of precast caps and beams that will support the bridge deck, said Will Lockett, Texas Department of Transportation area engineer.

Once demolition work was complete and the original deck removed, the five 70-foot arch spans that comprise the old bridge were raised by two to three inches, Lockett said.

Once the new precast caps and beams are in place and a new deck is poured, the arches will only serve a decorative purpose, he said.

Built in 1923, the San Antonio Street bridge was determined to not meet structural and functional standards by TxDOT due to vehicle and pedestrian safety concerns.

At seven spans—a span being the distance between two intermediate supports of the bridge—and 410 feet in length, the current iteration of the bridge lacked a shoulder and was limited to 10-foot-wide travel lanes and four-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides, according to TxDOT.

Per TxDOT project specifications for the San Antonio Street bridge, the updated bridge will increase from 30 feet in width to 48 feet wide in order to accommodate 15-foot-wide travel lanes, including shoulders, and eight-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides, at a cost of $4.8 million.

The majority of the funding for the project is provided through the federal Highway Bridge Program, while the city of New Braunfels is contributing 10% of funds using credit earned from previous TxDOT projects.
By Ian Pribanic

Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


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