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McAllister Freeway, 1980 OCEA
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The McAllister Freeway (North Expressway during development) is noteworthy for its rather long and controversial history. It is recognized as “Outstanding” for the resourcefulness with which its engineers met the many design challenges faced -  providing a much needed route while protecting and enhancing the neighborhoods, universities, parks, and precious natural features of San Antonio. All of those involved in seeing the project to completion are to be commended for their perseverance and fortitude in the face of many legal challenges and funding issues – rising to the occasion with extensive study, analysis, and an aesthetically pleasing design that incorporates multiple stakeholder input.


The need for a freeway to serve the rapidly expanding north-central part of the city was recognized in the mid fifties, and a bond issue passed in 1961. However, opposition arose against the selected route, which would pass through the Olmos Creek Flood Basin and the City of Olmos Park, between the Sunken Garden Theater and the Alamo Stadium. The opposition included a 1967 filing of lawsuits against the City, State, and Federal Department of Transportation. Although the legal situation caused delays, bids were received on the sections not under contention and construction began. In response to concerns with the route as well as public insistence that it must be completed, changes were made to the original route and design e.g. the addition of a sound attenuation wall along the edge of Olmos Park and a change in route between the Sunken Gardens and Alamo Stadium. However, legal opposition caused delays in approval from the Federal Highway Administration to the extent that TxDOT agreed to fund itsolely. Thus, a portion of the road is designated US Highway 281, and is not considered part of IH37. When the freeway finally opened, more than twenty years later in 1980, it was named one of the three “most attractive urban freeways” by the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officers and has facilitated the increasing development of north-central San Antonio (Average Daily Traffic is over 100,000).

 Texas Highway Department (Now TxDOT)
 District Engineer, F.M. Davis
 Killian-House Company
  H.B. Zachry Co.

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