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San Antonio's Growing Pains: Road Repairs Part Of Progress

Construction is a constant obstacle in an old and growing city, as city leaders identify decaying streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure in need of repair through bond projects.

One of the areas in need of attention is Blanco Road. Phase one of a project includes Hildebrand to Fresno and El Monte to Olmos Creek; work still leftover from the city’s 2007 bond project.

Chris Alonso, project engineer for the Blanco Road project,  said the second phase will be funded through the 2012 bond proposition, which was passed by voters earlier this year. The work still to be done includes Fresno to El Monte and Olmos Creek to Jackson Keller.

In all, the work should take three years and will align intersections like Basse and Blanco.

"In the long run, I think this does really improve that Blanco/Basse intersection, which has always been a historically awkward intersection -- kind of offset," Alonso said.


Slow road work can be partially blamed on fear that federal money for a project will disappear. Project managers say that to keep the projects moving, they are divided into parts.

"When we propose a capital improvement like this, you're looking at the overall improvement of the area,” said Ruben Guerrero, an assistant city engineer. "You're looking at major infrastructure being installed, either drainage or roadway improvement that in the long term will provide better flow, better movement through the area and better accessibility to the businesses and public around."

Popular Mexican restaurant Los Barrios is in the construction zone. Owner Louis Barrios isn't thrilled about the construction but says these streets are old and need work.

"It's kind of like the body builder,” Barrios began. “Everybody wants to have the body, but not everybody wants to do the hard work at the gym or do the diet. That's exactly what we have here. We need a new street, we need a new sewer, we need the new infrastructure and utilities, but nobody really likes the process of the construction."

Los Barrios has been here for 32 years, and he said his customers are so loyal that they'll just deal with the mess.

Guerrero said as part of the contract they are required to hold public meetings and maintain communication with business owners and people in the area about the progress of the project.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.