City officials gathered Saturday for the groundbreaking of a $23 million land bridge that will connect both sides of Phil Hardberger Park on the North Side.
Former San Antonio Mayor and Judge Phil Hardberger, the park’s namesake, said there is nothing like it in the U.S.: a three-acre land bridge over Wurzbach Parkway that will enable park visitors and animals to cross over the roadway.
Spaw Glass Civil Construction will start the project in November. Completion is scheduled in 2020. Hardberger said the city purchased property for the park in 2006, but Wurzbach Parkway was later cut through it.
The park opened in 2010 in two sections.
"There's no pavement on the bridge. No paved walkways or anything like that. Though there will be pathways or trails on one side, and then we leave two-thirds of it free for animals on the other side,” he said.
He said the land bridge will give park animals better access to watering holes without having to cross the parkway.
Hardberger said the bridge will begin as a steel and concrete structure and then topped with three feet of soil and native plants.
"As time goes on, it may look a little raw at the beginning, but as time goes on it will appear as if it were just a natural feature," he said.
The land bridge is named for the late Robert L.B. Tobin, a major local arts patron whose theater arts collection is housed at the McNay Art Museum.
The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department gave away 300 one-gallon trees at the event to celebrate the city’s 300th birthday as part of Tree Centennial Fest.
San Antonio’s current Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Manager Sheryl Sculley were among the city officials to join Hardberger for the groundbreaking.
Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org