A new pedestrian bridge opened this week over U.S. 90 between Loop 410 and West Military Drive in re… – Mike FisherLocal resident Abel Vigil walks across the new pedestrian bridge over US Hwy 90, between I-410 and M… – Marvin Pfeiffer, Staff PhotographerView looking north of the walkway onto the new pedestrian bridge over US Hwy 90, between I-410 and M… – Marvin Pfeiffer, Staff PhotographerView looking south of the walkway onto the new pedestrian bridge over US Hwy 90, between I-410 and M… – Marvin Pfeiffer, Staff Photographer
Slide 1 of 11: A new pedestrian bridge opened this week over U.S. 90 between Loop 410 and West Military Drive in response to safety concerns.
For decades, pedestrians on the West Side have weighed a choice on how to get across U.S. 90 — making a mad dash across several lanes of traffic and scaling a chain link fence in the median, or walking 20 to 30 minutes to the intersection at West Military Drive.
It led to six pedestrian-involved crashes, including at least two deaths, on that stretch of highway since 2011 alone, said Texas Department of Transportation officials who this week opened a new pedestrian bridge there between West Military and Loop 410.
“This was not planned,” said TxDOT traffic operations manager Dale Picha. “We took it on because we saw the need. We’re pretty proud of it.”
“It was a dire public safety need,” said TxDOT spokesman Hernan Rozemberg. “It’s now open and we’re hoping no one will ever again attempt to risk their life sprinting into traffic to get across U.S. 90.”
It still took six years. Engineers identified the need in 2013, gathered public input in 2014, secured the funding and right of way, then relocated utilities and started construction in 2017.
The $4 million aerial concrete sidewalk touches ground beyond the frontage roads on both sides of the busy highway near trailer parks, convenience stores, strip shopping centers and apartment complexes.
“We put that fence up in the middle of the highway to keep people from crossing,” said Picha, who probably knows San Antonio’s most dangerous roadways as well as anyone. “It’s a convenience thing … but come on, guys, you don’t cross a freeway by foot.”
He said the bridge was funded with an annual allotment TxDOT uses for “safety projects” – various construction projects that might not have been in the regular planning pipeline but which seem needed as traffic increases or demands change.
The entire bridge is wheelchair accessible and covered by fencing.