Great Springs Project would connect San Antonio to Austin with 100-mile trail

Written by: Jim Lefko
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SAN ANTONIO – Plans to ease congestion between San Antonio and Austin have been stalled for years. But a new project could lead to a different kind of connector between the two cities.

The Great Springs Project would link San Antonio Springs with Comal, San Marcos and Barton Springs through 100 miles of trails. Cost is estimated at about $1 million per mile.

“With a project of this size, it’s going to need a laundry list of support,” says Justin Tuck, who is assisting with project planning through his position with the National Parks Service.

“It’s really going to tie in a large amount of people, a huge population, in a way that’s currently not available.”

Tuck is optimistic people will eventually be able to walk or cycle from the Alamo to the state capitol.

“The likelihood of it happening quickly is very high,” he says of what he estimates will be a 15-year project.

The national parks service recently signed on to provide community planning and technical assistance for the multi-county project.

Funding is expected to come from a combination of public and private sources.

“The majority of that corridor is travel via car,” Tuck says. “Just think and imagine if it can be travel and engaged with alternative transportation – biking, walking that allows people to have access to the great outdoors.”

We talked to several people today who were walking on San Antonio trails. All support the proposed path that would roughly parallel I-35, just like the high-speed rail concept.

“I think both are needed, but start with whatever is feasible to put people in action,” says Ela Izbicka. “I would love it.

“I think it’s a very big deal. It’s not only for us. It’s the future that matters. We are investing in the future.”

Rob Streeper concurred.

“We need more outdoor recreation opportunities here in Texas,” he says. “We need to have more physical activity in Texas. I’m all for it.

“It would be kind of unique in Texas given the fact we have limited opportunities for walking trails.”

About 50,000 acres of land would be required for the project, including some protected land over the Edwards Aquifer.