San Pedro Creek Culture Park
San Antonio
Best Project

Owner: San Antonio River Authority
Lead Design Firm: HDR Engineering
General Contractor: Sundt-Davila, a Joint Venture
Civil Engineer: Pape-Dawson Engineers Inc.; Cobb Fendley & Associates Inc.; HDR
MEP Engineer: GGC Engineers
Architect: Muñoz and Co.
Engineering/Design/Construction: Raba Kistner

Careful preconstruction planning and innovative problem-solving were critical to constructing the $55-million San Pedro Creek Culture Park in downtown San Antonio.

The project reconstructed a half mile of the creek into an urban linear park with walkways, benches, murals and landscaping. The team faced a hard deadline to complete the work for San Antonio’s tricentennial on May 5, 2018.

San Pedro Creek provides urban-flood protection, and the project was designed to increase drainage capacity while restoring the ecosystem. The project team knew from the outset that rainfall would complicate construction because the west side of downtown drains into the creek. Even a half-inch of rain dumps 2 ft of water into the channel. The new segment of the creek is 8 ft below the channel, creating a dam at the end of the project.

The team designed a drainage and pump system to address the problem. As water enters the channel, it drains through rock to a 6-in. perforated pipe and into a 10-ft-dia casing. When the water gets too high, it triggers a submersible pump, sending water over the dam and downstream.

In August 2017, 4 in. of rain fell in four hours, submerging part of the site in 11 ft of water. Without the system, work would have been shut down for almost a week. Instead, the system pumped the water out by the next morning, allowing crews to return to work a day later.

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