San Antonio utility execs say St. Mary's Strip sewer problems shouldn't have surprised contractor

Officials with San Antonio Water System said general contractor SpawGlass had access to documents showing that it could encounter issues with the old sewer line.

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge St. Mary's Street remains under construction, blocking access to many of its businesses. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
St. Mary's Street remains under construction, blocking access to many of its businesses.
San Antonio Water System officials said the chief contractor on the long-delayed upgrades to the St. Mary's Strip should have foreseen sewer issues that have added months to the project, Axios reports.

SAWS CEO Robert Puente told the news site that general contractor SpawGlass had access to documents showing that a deep sewer line under the street would make the project more difficult. That flies in the face of city officials' claims that work crews encountered unforeseen snags, according to Axios.

"When they bid the work, they knew all about our infrastructure," Puente said.

City officials initially pledged work on the nightlife and entertainment destination would wrap up in late 2022. However, it's now expected to finish sometime this spring. Bars, restaurants and music venues have racked up months of financial hardship as the work continues to cut off customers' access.

In the wake of the delays, San Antonio approved $2.25 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to aid local businesses hurt by the St. Mary's debacle and 14 other construction projects that have shut down local streets.

While construction projects such as the St. Mary's revamp come with curveballs, SAWS Senior Vice President of Engineering and Construction Andrea Beymer told Axios that SpawGlass should have planned for difficulties based on the information it got from the city.

"There was nothing that should have caught them by surprise," Beymer said.

SpawGlass officials deferred Axios' questions to city officials. Meanwhile, via email, San Antonio Public Works Director Razi Hosseini told the news organization that SpawGlass needed all the additional time it requested for the sewer work.

"In this case, the condition of the soil around the sewer line was unknown until the work began," Hosseini said.

However, SAWS exec Beymer told Axios that information on the depth of the sewer line and its condition were detailed in documents provided to SpawGlass and other contractors. SAWS reportedly provided the bid documents to the news outlet.

"Did they need some additional days? Yes, but not 100 days," Beymer told Axios.

Coming soon: SA Current Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting San Antonio stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles

About The Author

Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.


Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.