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City Taking Over Maintenance For Some State Roads In Limited TxDOT "Turnback" Deal

Eileen Pace
TPR News
This year the city will take control of the stretch of Broadway from IH-35 to Alamo Heights.

San Antonio will be taking control of 21.8 miles of roads within the city that are currently owned and maintained by the state.

But to get to this point, city leaders placed strict conditional requirements on the Texas Department of Transportation.

TxDOT initially proposed that San Antonio take back more than 120 miles of roads as a way to shed expensive maintenance costs, but city leaders balked at that "turnback" program proposal. Even though the state would have paid the city a hefty one-time fee, council members said over time the city would no longer be able to afford the cost of maintenance.

Mayor Julián Castro did not like the idea much either.

"When we first saw the turnback proposal, it wasn't something the city could take on," he said.

In a letter to the Texas Transportation Commission, the city agreed that it could take on the 21.8 centerline miles if:

  1. The city would gain property needed for the expansion of the convention center
  2. TxDOT pays $250,000 for enhancements in the Lackland/SW Military corridor, and $150,000 toward a Wurzbach Parkway traffic study
  3. Broadway gets a complete street reconstruction for curbs, sidewalks and landscaping that's outside the streetcar route
  4. TxDOT pays for necessary one-time maintenance of the state roads before they're handed over to the city

With the conditions met, the city would control Broadway from IH-35 to Alamo Heights, two portions of Culebra, one from Leon Valley to Loop 1604 and Loop 410 to FM 0471, Eckert from Huebner to Bandera, Fredericksburg Road from I-10 to Balcones Heights, Highway 16 to Toyota, and San Pedro from Loop 410 to 281. Those sections will transition this year.
In 2016, UTSA from I-10 to UTSA will be handed over to the city, and Hausman from 1604 to Helotes in 2017.

"We've gotten a lot in return from TxDOT in terms of improving those roadways before they're turned over and also land that the state owns that San Antonio needs to expand its convention center and other things," Castro said.

City leaders told the commission in the letter that the region is estimated to grow by more than one million people in the next 25 years. Safety is a top priority, they said.

The city is also requiring a partnership with TxDOT to improving safety and reducing congestion along Zarzamora Road at the Union Pacific railroad crossing just south of Hwy 90, Bandera Road from Loop 410 to 1604, and Culebra Road at the Loop 1604 interchange.

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