TxDOT plans to extend SH 211 to relieve traffic congestion
Web Posted: 08/10/2007 01:55 AM CDT
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
Officials say $30 million worth of roadway is needed on the city's far [West] Side, and the Texas Department of Transportation continues to plan for it.
But will an extension of State Highway 211 relieve congestion, or just add to it?
The project calls for nearly eight new miles of SH 211, at about $4 million a mile. Not all of the funding is available yet, but the controversy is already in place.
"If you complete the 211 corridor, you're going to open that up to development," said Ron Green, with the Helotes Heritage Association.
The far Northwest/West Side of San Antonio is getting closer — and downright claustrophobic in spots between Potranco and Culebra, with several thousand more homes and businesses projected outside Loop 1604.
Traffic relief could come from the addition to SH 211. It's not even completely connected just yet, and some want it to stay that way.
"The fact is that area cannot sustain heavy development," Green said.
The Helotes Heritage Association and others say bigger roads bring in big development, and because the county has limited jurisdiction over the growth, they warn, it could be a disaster for the environment.
"Planning now to protect these resources just makes the best sense all the way around," Green said.
"It's a major issue, and one that we're using what limited tools we have to address," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.
But the county says there's a way to make the SH 211 corridor work. A public improvement district, similar to the PGA Village deal, could bring the roads, sewer and services that are needed.
The growth, officials say, is coming, whether SH 211 grows with it or not.
"We got to find a way to finance it, and a way to handle it, and a way to build the road infrastructure that's necessary to accommodate that growth," Wolff said.
As it stands, TxDOT has nearly $8 million set aside for the project. Bexar County is expected to pay for the rest of it, and then get reimbursed by TxDOT later.
No construction date has been set yet.