Work is progressing on San Antonio Street Bridge reconstruction, which has been stripped of its decking and railings ahead of installation of a substructure that will catch materials as construction progresses.

“From the city’s assessment, it looks like work is ahead of schedule,” said Greg Malatek, New Braunfels public works director, on the progress. “The next thing is removing and retrofitting the bridge abutments over the next three weeks.”

Capital Excavation Company is managing Texas Department of Transportation’s renovation of the bridge spanning the Comal River, which closed to vehicle and passenger traffic on Sept. 3. TxDOT has projected it will complete the $4,518,896 restoration, part of its Off-System Bridge Program, within 16 months.  

In the meantime, San Antonio Street traffic, measured at nearly 9,500 vehicles daily in both directions, is now detoured onto Comal, Union and Elizabeth avenues, Torrey and Garden streets and Hinman Island and Landa Park drives.

“There were some issues that came up after the bridge closure, as there were still folks coming out to the river the next few weekends,” Malatek said. “But everything has worked out well. It gets a little congested during peak traffic hours in the mornings and evenings, but it clears out pretty quickly. Everything is functioning pretty well.”

Malatek said the city has kept a close eye on activity at the traffic signal at the Seguin Avenue and Garden Street intersection.

“That was the critical signal, but it also seems to be working fine,” he said. “There haven’t been many delays except for when folks are going to and from work, but it has functioned well during most weekdays.”

Capital Excavation, which has employed a seven-day work week schedule to expedite the project, has completed demolition of the upper bridge deck and has constructed a second deck underneath the bridge to protect against debris falling into the environmentally sensitive waters of the river. 

“It was very impressive that they have removed most of the deck so quickly,” Malatek said. “They removed it in a way that trucks the material away from town, where it is destroyed in a way that won’t have the noise and dust involved by doing it in town,” Malatek noted.

The Comal River is not closed to water recreation during construction, except for traffic within the River Safety Zone that bars river and pedestrian traffic within the construction area. 

The measure, which went into effect Sept. 23, prohibits public entry into the zone, with violators facing fines up to $500. Comal River recreation beneath the bridge is expected to resume by Memorial Day weekend in 2020. 

For more on the project, visit www.nbtexas.org/bridge.

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