By Katie Friel – austin.culturemap.com
The bridge is officially open to the public. Courtesy rendering
Avery special public (and animal!) works project is now open in the Alamo City. Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge, the United States’ largest wildlife crossing, opened in Northwest San Antonio on December 11.
At 1 pm on Friday, officials lifted construction barriers on the new land bridge, which connects two previously divided halves of the 330-acre Phil Hardberger Park. The bridge’s location helps reclaim natural habitat above Wurzbach Parkway, and its design helps pedestrians and wildlife move freely — and safely — between the two portions of the park.
If you’ve seen that viral video of a new wildlife bridge in Utah that has been making the rounds on the internet, then you’re aware of the land bridge trend. But more than that, these innovative structures help ease wildlife-related crashes and help reconnect fractured habitats in an increasingly urban world.
In San Antonio, the Tobin Land Bridge will also serve as a living classroom and community space.
“For many years, the Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge was only a dream. Thanks to overwhelming community support of the 2017 Bond, the generosity of donors from across the city and the hard work and dedication of so many, the vision is now a reality,” said former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, who celebrated the bridge’s opening.
As Hardberger mentioned, the bridge was a public-private endeavor, funded through both donations and the portion approved by voters as part of the 2017-2022 bond package.
Due to COVID-19, no formal ceremonies will take place, but officials caution big crowds during opening weekend. If you just can’t wait to traipse over the bridge, please wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
To enter the bridge, humans can use the Military park entrance at 8400 NW Military Hwy. via the Savanna Loop trail or from the Blanco Road entrance 13203 Blanco Rd. via the Water Loop trail. (Wildlife may enter where they please.) The shortest trail is a half-mile, so be prepared to walk at least 1 mile, if not more.
Hours of operation are daily, from sunrise to sunset.