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Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series here. The full history of the freeway system is available on this site here.

SH-211 San Antonio Area Roads & More
State Highway 211 (Texas Research Parkway)

This page last updated July 22, 2017


SH 211 location map

Initial segment
While the concept of a north-south highway in far western Bexar County has been around since the late 1960s, it wasn't until the mid '80s that the actual need for such a road materialized. In 1986, land was donated for the Texas Research Park, a planned campus of biomedical research organizations and pharmaceutical companies in far western Bexar County just off FM 1957 (Potranco Rd.) This location was served only by Potranco Road and local leaders knew that to make it successful, they would need better access. Taking their cue from the then recently-built SH 151, where the land for the road was entirely donated, officials lined-up donated land to build a highway from US 90 to the front door of the research park at Potranco. The State Dept. of Highways and Public Transportation (now TxDOT) accepted the land and built the highway, SH 211. The road opened in 1990 and was built as a two-lane rural highway, but enough right-of-way was acquired for a future freeway. 

Second segment built
With the initial segment built, developers, realizing the growth potential of the area, decided to keep the momentum going and get the highway extended northward to SH 16 (Bandera Rd.) Using donated land once more, the first segment of this extension, from Bandera Rd. south to FM 471 (Culebra Rd.), was completed in 1991. However, land owners along the proposed route between Culebra and Potranco were resistant to the project and efforts to acquire the right-of-way for that section stalled and eventually failed.

Opposition to northern extension
Meanwhile, more virulent opposition emerged when the highway department announced they were planning yet another extension of 211 from SH 16 north and east to I-10 West near Leon Springs in far northwest Bexar County. The owner of property just north of SH 16 offered to donate a swath of land for the road. However, this limited the possible route of the highway and required it to run through the middle of the adjacent ranch. The owners of that ranch vehemently opposed the road and fought the highway department, hiring a lawyer and an environmental preservationist to present reasons to stop the highway. A smorgasbord of items, ranging from the ubiquitous endangered species issues to water quality to archaeological finds, was presented to TxDOT. Efforts were made by TxDOT at a compromise, but to no avail. Eventually, other property owners in the area joined in opposing the plan, including the subsequent inheritor of the land just north of SH 16 that was to have been donated. After much ballyhooing (including a feature in Texas Monthly on the drama), the proposal for that extension was shelved, and as of today, there are no plans to resurrect it.

Current status
With growth now exploding in western Bexar County, officials began working again in 2007 to acquire the necessary right-of-way and funding for the missing middle segment from Potranco to Culebra, and TxDOT began the process to update its environmental reviews for the entire corridor both in anticipation of constructing the middle section as well as for possible future upgrades of the corridor to a divided highway or freeway. In late 2009, Bexar County and the Texas Transportation Commission approved a pass-through financing agreement whereby Bexar County will build the missing segment and be reimbursed by the state over several years. The findings for the latest environmental review were released in mid July 2017. Approval by the Federal Highway Administration is expected in the third quarter of 2017 with construction then expected to begin in early 2018 and be complete in mid 2019.

(SH 211 is authorized by Minute Order 88108 [November 29, 1988]. The order includes the section from SH 16 to I-10.)

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This page and all its contents are Copyright 2017 by Brian Purcell

The information provided on this website is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind either express or implied.  The author and his agents make no warranties or representations of any kind concerning any information contained in this website.  This website is provided only as general information.  The author expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based upon the information contained herein or with respect to any errors or omissions in such information.  All opinions expressed are strictly those of the author.  This site is not affiliated in any way with any official agency.