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ROBERT L.B. TOBIN LAND BRIDGE

SAN ANTONIO, TX

Enabling both pedestrians and animals to cross a six-lane highway safely, the Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge opened in late 2020. At 150 feet wide and spanning the full width of a busy San Antonio parkway, the structure joins two previously separated tracts of Phil Hardberger Park. The structure is entirely covered with vegetation for a seamless transition from the native landscape to the newly constructed parkland elevated off the ground. Wildlife viewing blinds and an elevated canopy walkway allow visitors to experience wildlife from new perspectives.

The project also includes a sky walk that takes park users on an experience from the naïve ground to the top of the land bridge by gently climbing on an elevated open walk that rises through the existing preserved native park tree canopy, providing a unique experience. 

An approximately 100,000 gallon underground rainwater collection cistern is also part of the project. Located on the south west side of the project, it collects rainfall that falls on a portion of the site and runs down a hill. A long subsurface trench zig-zags through the native vegetation avoiding existing trees, and acts as a French drain to collect the rainwater, and convey it to a depression adjacent to the land bridge, where it re-emerges to a surface depression, then slowly percolated through a sand layer that filters the water before accumulating in the below grade cistern. The collected water is then used to irrigate the vegetation located on the land bridge. 

Rialto is the prime consultant for the project (but has worked closely with Stephen Stimson Associates, who envisioned the project), and guiding it through construction documentation and administration. However, Rialto has relied on the help of many consultants such as structural engineers, electrical engineers, and ecologists.