San Antonio River Improvements Project Fact Sheet

  • The San Antonio River Improvements Project (SARIP) is a $384.1 million investment by Bexar County, the City of San Antonio, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and the San Antonio River Foundation in flood control, amenities, ecosystem restoration and recreational improvements to the San Antonio River. SARA serves as project manager for all sections of SARIP and as local sponsor with USACE specifically for the Mission Reach.
  • The project’s northern section—the Museum Reach—extends approximately four miles from Hildebrand at Brackenridge Park to Lexington Street. The Urban Segment of the Museum Reach extends approximately 1.5 miles from Lexington Street to Josephine Street, was opened May 30, 2009. The Park Segment continues approximately 2 miles through Brackenridge Park up to Hildebrand Avenue.
  • The project’s downtown section, completed in October 2002, extends from Houston Street to Lexington Avenue and includes the restored portions of the original San Antonio River Walk.
  • The Eagleland segment, from Alamo Street to Lone Star Boulevard, is essentially complete at this time and is the transitional segment between the downtown River Walk and the Mission Reach.
  • The project’s southern section – the Mission Reach – extends approximately eight miles from South Alamo Street to Mission Espada just below Loop 410. The Mission Reach was completed in October 2013.

Stakeholder and Government Involvement:

  • The San Antonio River Oversight Committee (SAROC), a 22-member citizen committee, was appointed in 1998 to guide the planning and implementation of the project. SAROC continues to actively guide the project’s implementation.
  • Bexar County will contribute approximately $229.4 million from the county’s flood tax (specifically for flood control and ecosystem restoration elements of the project) from Venue Tax funding from the May 2008 voter approved proposition supporting the funding of SARIP.
  • The City of San Antonio contribution is anticipated to be approximately $76.7 million over the life of the project, derived from the city’s capital improvements fund for amenities and recreation elements.
  • The USACE could contribute approximately $57.9 million to support the ecosystem restoration and recreation elements in the Mission Reach and $2.6 million toward construction in the Eagleland segment on the southern edge of downtown San Antonio.
  • The San Antonio River Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the San Antonio River by raising money through the private sector to bring artistic, recreational, environmental and educational enhancements to the San Antonio River.
  • SARA provides project and technical management as well as overall project coordination between the project partners. SARA will also be responsible for operations and maintenance (O&M) activities on the San Antonio River Improvements Project. The O&M funding from SARA offset future City O&M costs and provided the City additional funding capacity to issue debt to cover a portion of the City’s funding for construction of the Museum Reach-Urban Segment. SARA’s O&M responsibilities include the Museum Reach–Urban, Eagleland and Mission Reach Segments.

The Mission Reach:

  • Improvements along the Mission Reach will focus on ecosystem restoration using a technique known as fluvial geomorphology. This technique will transform the straightened river to replicate the original flow of the river while maintaining flood control, reducing erosion, re-introducing native vegetation and creating an environment more suitable for recreation and wildlife.
  • The $271.4 million Mission Reach project is funded by Bexar County ($196.3 million), the City of San Antonio ($6.5 million); USACE ($517.9 million) and through private donations collected by the San Antonio River Foundation ($4.7 million). Funding for utility relocations by SAWS totals $6 million.
  • The project’s ecological features include restoring the natural pool, riffle, run sequences; reconnection of two historic river remnants; restoration of natural backwater habitats; and restoration of the native riparian corridor, including the planting of over 20,000 young trees.
  • Recreational features include over 15 miles of hike & bike trails, 6 foot bridges, shade structures, picnic tables, overlooks and river-edge landings.
  • Laughlin-Thyssen, Inc. was awarded the contract to construct phase one of the Mission Reach. A ground-breaking was held on June 2, 2008, and the grand opening was held on June 25, 2011.
  • Zachry Construction Corp. was awarded the contract to construct phase two (contract award was 35% under construction cost estimate). A ground breaking was held on February 13, 2010, and the grand opening was held on June 25, 2011.
  • Zachry Construction Corp. was also awarded the contract to construct the third and final phase (contract award was 20% under construction cost estimate). A ground breaking ceremony was held on October 12, 2010, and the grand opening was held on October 5, 2013.
  • The Eagleland segment, under construction now, reflects the ecosystem restoration planned for the remainder of the Mission Reach. The Eagleland Segment has a budget of $13.6 million and is essentially complete at this time.

The Museum Reach:

  • A consultant team led by Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners, Inc. led the final design for the Museum Reach.
  • Improvements on the Urban Segment of the Museum Reach double the length of the existing River Walk and extend the distinctive San Antonio experience to a previously undeveloped section of the river north of downtown.
  • The project stabilized the river channel; extended navigation by river barge through the addition of a lock and dam; created access along a linear park that links major cultural institutions and commercial centers; and added landscaping, pocket parks, lighting and signage.
  • Private funding raised through the San Antonio River Foundation supported the addition of amenities and art enhancements.
  • Final design was completed in September 2006. Construction began in May 2007 and was completed in May 2009. Zachry Construction Corporation was the contractor for the project.
  • The $72.1 million Museum Reach-Urban Segment is funded by the City of San Antonio ($51.3 million), Bexar County ($13.1 million), San Antonio Water System (SAWS; $200,000 for utility line relocation) and through private donations collected by the San Antonio River Foundation ($6.5 million).
  • The $12.6 million Museum Reach Park Segment portion of the San Antonio River Improvements Project runs from Josephine Street to Hildebrand Avenue, which is near the San Antonio River headwaters. Phase I, from Josephine Street to Avenue B, is open. Phase II, from Avenue B to Hildebrand Avenue, is scheduled for completion by 2015. When completed, the Park Segment will connect downtown San Antonio to the Witte Museum, Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Zoo with lighted hike and bike trails and a constructed wetlands near the Witte Museum.