Major construction is scheduled to begin on South Alamo Street after the holidays, work that will create a multimodal parkway between Market Street and East César E. Chávez Boulevard.

The 2017 municipal bond project includes new lighting and landscaping, reconstruction of the street as well as drainage and utilities work. That same section of the street, near Hemisfair, is expected to host a New Year’s Eve bash put on by the San Antonio Parks Foundation, drawing as many as 70,000 people.

“We’re going to do some work up until Christmas. … But then the bulk of the work, where we’re really trenching, is going to start after the holidays,” Public Works Department spokesman Paul Berry told the City of San Antonio’s Small Business Advisory Commission on Wednesday.

Renderings of the project that were presented to residents and business owners last week show up to seven lanes of traffic in some places, with medians dividing local traffic from the main road. The renderings do not include designated bike lanes, but show upgraded sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Examples of the type of major trenching required to install a water main and sewer were also included in the presentation.

Before Christmas the city plans to install traffic signage and barricades, demolish existing medians and light poles and temporarily widen the street, according to the presentation. It plans to do the sewer work between January and September 2023, and have the full $36 million project complete by December 2024.

The new project comes as San Antonio is facing growing complaints from businesses around the city feeling impacts from ongoing infrastructure projects.

“What we heard during our sessions going out meeting with [businesses] is that just as they started feeling safe coming out of the pandemic … the orange cones showed up,” said Daniel Hicks, a management fellow for the City of San Antonio.

A project map shows the stretch of South Alamo Street undergoing improvements, between East Cesar E. Chavez and Market Street.
A project map shows the stretch of South Alamo Street undergoing improvements, between East César E. Chávez Boulevard and Market Street. Credit: Courtesy / City of San Antonio Public Works Department

Wednesday’s meeting of the Small Business Advisory Commission featured a presentation from Hicks on how the city plans to spend $400,000 from the fiscal year 2023 budget on marketing and communication to help businesses impacted by construction.

Hicks said the city was also considering hiring additional capital projects officers to handle outreach and communication about the upcoming projects with affected businesses.

“None of those dollars are going to be made directly available to any of the companies that have been impacted,” said Jane Gonzalez of Medwheels Inc., who represents District 3 on the commission. “… I would have preferred to have seen even a little bit money set aside for some of these companies that we heard from.”

Berry said the city met with businesses along South Alamo last week to discuss construction that began Monday.

“Plenty of businesses were there to share their concerns,” Berry said.

The city’s presentation indicated contractors plan to staff the South Alamo project with workers six days per week, from sun up to sun down. It said the project will require parking restrictions, cause dust and vibrations, and potentially disrupt some services.

The city’s consultants on the project are HDR Engineering and MIG Inc. The contractor is Sundt Construction Inc.

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Andrea Drusch

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the San Antonio Report. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.