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San Antonio River Flood Control Tunnel, 1998 OCEA
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The San Antonio River Tunnel project (SART) - completed in 1998 - was designed to work with Olmos Dam Floodwater Detention to protect downtown San Antonio from damage.  The project includes an inlet facility located at St. Josephine Street and the San Antonio River, a 24-foot diameter tunnel, and an outlet site at Lone Star Boulevard.  The inlet and outlet sites were designed and landscaped to create a park-like setting, in keeping with the character of the adjacent neighborhoods and the city’s popular tourist attraction­ the River Walk.  The tunnel, capable of funneling over three million gallons of water per minute, was bored over ten years and one month and runs three miles long.     


Soon after it was constructed, SART protected life and untold millions of dollars of property from flood damage when it passed the “flood of record” for the area in October 1998. An innovative alternative to river channelization, the project’s tunnel concept minimizes disruption.  Additionally, SART is beneficial in its reduction of environmental impact. One advantageous feature of the project, the recirculation of tunnel water, creates both higher water quality and conserves water, which had historically been pumped from the Edwards Aquifer to supplement river flow. The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) also implemented a treated effluent water recycling program so that the flow would be supplemented by recycled water at the tunnel inlet and in Brackenridge Park. This allowed the pumps, which had previously drawn water from the aquifer to supplement the base flow of the river, to be turned off. This project represents innovative and functional design and is a classic example of outstanding cooperative effort between local and federal government agencies.

City of San Antonio
 San Antonio River Authority, Chief Engineer, Steven Ramsey PE
 Photo:William Fischer; Jr.of Fort Scott; Kansas,

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