Highway 90 pedestrian bridge
A new pedestrian bridge located on Highway 90 between West Military Drive and Loop 410. Credit: Stephanie Marquez / San Antonio Report

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently opened a pedestrian bridge above U.S. Highway 90 on the West Side with hopes it will prevent further fatal collisions between vehicles and people trying to cross the freeway.

The new pedestrian bridge is located between Loop 410 and West Military Drive, linking the Lackland Mobile Home Village and a mostly commercial area along westbound 90.

TxDOT’s plans for a larger improvement project along this stretch of U.S. 90 out to Loop 1604 did not originally include a pedestrian bridge, but the state agency saw a need to increase pedestrian safety in the area after several deaths there over the years.

TxDOT included the bridge into its larger plan for the highway about six years ago.

“We’re proud to have taken on this project because it was not planned, but it’s something we decided to take on in cooperation and collaboration with the community because we saw a need,” TxDOT San Antonio spokesman Hernan Rozemburg said in a livestream presentation Thursday.

TxDOT held an open house in 2014 for neighborhood residents, but had since been awaiting funding to become available and allocated for safety projects in order to proceed with construction.

TxDOT had previously put up a chain-link fence along the median as a deterrence, but agency representatives acknowledge that it has not been enough to prevent people from trying to cross the highway on foot.

Dale Picha, traffic operations manager for the TxDOT San Antonio District, said in the livestream that neighborhood residents had spent years asking TxDOT to see what the agency could do to improve pedestrian safety.

“This is probably the best we could do,” said Picha of the new bridge. “I don’t know what more we can do beside this.”

“It’s now open and we’re hoping it’ll get lots of use and most definitely that no one will ever again attempt to risk their life sprinting into traffic to get across U.S. 90,” Rozemburg later told reporters.

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.