SAN ANTONIO FREEWAY HISTORY
Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series
The full history of the freeway system is available on this site
Antonio Area Freeway System
I-10 from La Cantera to Ralph Fair
page last updated August 27, 2017
Location: I-10 West
from La Cantera Pkwy. to
Ralph Fair Rd.
Construction to start in early September
This $70 million project will add one general-purpose
(for a total of three) and one
high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction. These
will be added in the open center median of the current roadway with the HOV
lanes in the center between the general-purpose mainlanes (see
cross-section below.) No entrance or exit ramps will be
as a result of this project.
The westbound HOV lane will start
just north of La Cantera Pkwy. There will be an intermediate
entrance/exit point between Camp Bullis Rd. and Dominion Dr. for
traffic to exit for Boerne Stage Rd. and Ralph Fair Rd. The
lane will then continue and end just north of Boerne Stage Rd. where it
will merge into the left general-purpose mainlane.
mainlane will then end just north of Ralph Fair Rd.
the eastbound side, the third general-purpose mainlane will be added
to the right from a forthcoming entrance ramp located just north of
Ralph Fair Rd. The HOV lane will then start on the left just
south of Ralph Fair Rd. There will be an intermediate
entrance/exit point between Stonewall Pkwy. and Camp Bullis Rd. for
traffic wanting to exit to Camp Bullis Rd. and La Cantera Pkwy.
The HOV lane will then continue and end just south of Camp
Rd. where it will merge into the left
this project will help
This section of I-10 is growing rapidly and experiences recurrent daily
congestion. The additional lanes will provide additional
capacity. The HOV lanes will be the first in an envisioned
of HOV lanes in San Antonio and are intended to help reduce congestion
by encouraging carpooling and mass transit usage.
This project will start in September and is expected to be complete in early 2020.
- Will this project be tolled?
No. Although an earlier version of this project
proposed tolled managed lanes, funding was secured to remove the toll
component. Instead, two toll-free mainlanes and two toll-free
lanes (one of each per direction) will be added.
- I will not use the
HOV lane, so it won't benefit me. My taxes shouldn't pay for
something I won't use.
don't use the HOV lane,
you will still get the benefit of it in that every vehicle that uses
lane is one or more vehicles that won't be in the general-purpose
mainlanes, thus reducing congestion there. We all pay taxes
for many things we don't use or directly benefit from but that benefit
everyone generally. Don't
that the people who will use the HOV lanes are also taxpayers.
Instead of an HOV lane, another general-purpose mainlane would provide more capacity.
Yes, having an extra
mainlane in place of an HOV lane would provide more general-purpose
capacity. But the benefit would be short-lived because that extra lane
will soon also become congested and will leave less room (if any) then
With an HOV lane, planners build-in a corridor that can be used
now and well into the future to move more people
per vehicle through the corridor, people who won't be clogging the
mainlanes in their single-occupancy cars. Freeway corridors are
more than just pathways for vehicles-- they're high-capacity transportation
corridors that need to be considered not only for their ability to move
vehicles, but also their ability to move people. These two
purposes can coexist and HOV lanes are a way of doing that.
A new general-purpose mainlane, while providing immediate
gratification, is myopic in the long-run; HOV lanes reflect a
more sophisticated long-term planning desired by many citizens.
- Nobody wants HOV lanes.
simply not true. Of the over 3,500 respondents to the recent SA
Tomorrow transportation planning survey, 76% either agreed or
strongly-agreed that HOV lanes should be an important part of San
Antonio's transportation future. Anecdotally, the author of this website attends nearly
every public meeting for transportation projects and has consistently
heard broad-based citizen support for HOV lanes.
- Why build an HOV lane here when
there aren't any others in San Antonio?
inclusion of HOV lanes in freeway projects is a recent change in
local transportation planning and this project was in development when
that policy was put into effect, so it was included in the project.
Consquently, this could be considered a
"starter" HOV lane. Another is planned on US 281 North and
carpools will likely be allowed in planned managed lanes on Loop 1604.
Furthermore, planners are already considering how to continue
I-10 HOV lanes inside 1604. Remember that San Antonio's
freeway system started with a short section of I-10 between Woodlawn and
Culebra that provided no significant connectivity but was part of a
plan. "Rome wasn't built
in a day."
- What will be the requirements to
use the HOV lanes?
It is planned that
the HOV lane will be open to vehicles with two or more passengers (HOV
2+), transit vehicles, motorcycles, and emergency vehicles.
HOV lanes will operate full-time.
- Why wasn't this done when the
Camp Bullis and Dominion overpasses were built?
that time, TxDOT had not completed the required planning
and environmental studies for a mainlane expansion and there was no
funding for such a project. The Camp Bullis overpass was
rebuilt to provide space beneath it for urgently-needed intersection
improvements necessitated by nearby development (mainly The Rim.) The Dominion
overpass was built to facilitate convenient circulation and emergency
access in conjunction with converting the access roads to one-way,
which itself was necessitated by traffic growth in the area.
Waiting to complete those projects until the mainlane
expansion project development was completed and funded would have
delayed the much-needed improvements they provided by nearly a decade. However,
planners designed those projects to easily facilitate future expansion
mainlanes. Like many
things in life, highway improvements often are incremental due to
- The overpass at Dominion Dr. was only built to give the residents of The Dominion easy access to inbound I-10.
doesn't really have anything to do with this project, but this seemed
like a good place to answer this persistent but false allegation among
some frankly cynical
people in this area. An overpass was needed between
Camp Bullis Rd. and Boerne Stage Rd. to provide a convenient
crossover for residents on both sides of I-10 in order to convert the
access roads to one-way; without an overpass in this area, traffic
needing to go the opposite direction on I-10 could have to travel four
miles out of the way to do so. This location was selected because it's
nearly halfway between Camp Bullis Rd. and Boerne Stage Rd.,
because it was at a location that connected a roadway on the east side
of I-10 with a then-planned arterial (Stonewall Parkway) on the
west side (this arterial had been on the City of San Antonio's major
thoroughfare plan for many years prior), and because it was the best
location to facilitate emergency vehicle access to The Dominion
and other locations on the east side of I-10 from the fire station
located on the west side
of I-10 just north of there. The fact that it provided improved access
to I-10 from The Dominion was certainly a beneficial consequence for
them, but it was not the determining factor for the need and location
for that overpass.
Below are before and after
cross sections of the
project, annotated detailed project schematics, and a rendering of what the finished roadway will look like.
EXISTING CROSS SECTION
FUTURE CROSS SECTION
access road lanes varies depending on location.
purposes only and are not to
DETAILED PROJECT SCHEMATICS (Note: these
over 4MB in size and may take a few seconds to open.)
Ralph Fair to Dominion
Dominion to La Cantera
Rendering of future I-10 looking inbound north of Dominion Dr
sites of interest