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Friday, May 26

Next week's construction-related closures

*No construction-related closures will be permitted Friday, May 26, at 5 p.m. until Monday, May 29, at midnight in observance of Memorial Day Weekend.


I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Tuesday, May 30 until Friday, June 9. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road between Woodlake Parkway and FM 1516. Alternating lanes will close while crews install storm drains. Traffic will be one-way, controlled by flaggers.
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 30-June 2. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between the Hays County line and FM 306. Alternating lanes will close, two lanes at a time, while crews resurface the road.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Current until Tuesday, August 1 at 5 a.m. Turnarounds, both directions, at Walzem Road. The turnarounds will remain closed while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, May 30-31. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and Crestway Drive. The left lane will close while crews work on overhead highway signs.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 31-June 1. Main lanes, both directions, between Randolph Boulevard and Walzem. The left lane will close while crews work on overhead highway signs.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 30-June 1. 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes at New Braunfels Avenue. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit New Braunfels Avenue, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
I-35 – Downtown
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at U.S. Hwy 90. The left lane will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Sunday, June 4. 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. Northbound main lanes at U.S. Hwy 90. The two right lanes will close while crews do bridge work. This includes the on ramp from Theo Avenue. Traffic will head south to Division Avenue, turn around and use the available ramp.
I-410 – East San Antonio
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound connector ramp to eastbound I-10. The ramp will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Houston Street, turn around and approach eastbound I-10 from the northbound lanes.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Northbound exit to Culebra Road. The exit will close while crews widen the main lanes and frontage road. Traffic will exit Ingram Road, turn around and get to Culebra on the southbound frontage road.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 30-June 1. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road at Hunt Lane. All lanes will close while crews install drain structures. Traffic will be diverted onto the main lanes to reach its destination.
  • Thursday-Friday, June 1-2. 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Eastbound main lanes at Hunt Lane. The left lane will close while crews pour concrete.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through June 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound exit ramp to northbound I-35. The ramp will close while crews do bridge repair work. Traffic will exit Theo Malone and turn around to reach northbound I-35.
U.S. Hwy 281 – Near North San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, May 30-31. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between I-410 and Jones-Maltsberger. The right lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 31-June 1. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Jones-Maltsberger and Basse Road. The right lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
  • Thursday-Friday, June 1-2. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Hildebrand and Josephine. The right lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Westbound exit ramp to Hunt Lane. The exit will close while crews work on retaining walls. Traffic will exit Ingram Road and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
Other roads – Seguin
  • Current until August 31. Austin Street between Martindale and Seidman. The road will be converted to one-way only, moving southbound only, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination.
Other roads – New Braunfels
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 30-June 2. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between FM 758 and I-35. Alternating lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
Other roads – Northeast San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 30-June 2. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Walzem, both directions, at I-35. Alternating lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 30-June 1. 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. New Braunfels Avenue, both directions, at I-35. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work on the New Braunfels Avenue overpass. Traffic will turn right onto the frontage road and turn around to reach its destination.
All closures are pending weather.

Harper Road ramps on I-10 reopened

A few weeks ago Angel Brothers Construction shut down the westbound exit ramp and the eastbound entrance ramp of I-10 out at Harper Road.
The closure allowed crews to whittle away at the road bed, which has built up over years of resurfacing projects to create a low-crossing area with the Ingram Road overpass. We have contracted Angel Brothers to rebuild the main lanes of I-10 a whole foot lower than it currently is, increasing clearance to 16 feet 5 inches in both directions.
The work will put an end - or a major slow-down - on large truck traffic moving through downtown Ingram and Kerrville. Trucks had been taking this route to avoid hitting the bridge.
Well, we expected the ramps to be closed about eight weeks. Angel Brothers reopened the ramps in three. The early completion is going to earn the company an additional $120,000 on the $2.2 million project, which started in April and will wrap up by the end of August.

Wednesday, May 24

It's time (again) to mow our lawn

With nearly 4,300 miles of roadway in our district - about a quarter of which are in Bexar County alone - folks can imagine it becomes quite an ordeal for us to mow our lawn. Unlike many of the 2.5 million who live in our district, we can't pay a neighbor kid $10 to mow the grass and call it good. Mowing our grass is pretty darned costly - about $1 million to do it district-wide - so we only do it a few times a year.


It's that time of year.
Keep an eye out for mowing crews
and help them stay safe!
Mowers started moving in the Hill Country areas after the wildflowers got a chance to finish their bloom, pollenate and seed. If you've driven along some of those country routes you may have already seen our guys doing their thing.
Mowers started up in Bexar County earlier this month and have already knocked out a few hundred acres' of lawn for us. In an effort to help you keep an eye out for our mowers to keep them safe we want to let you know where they plan to be (weather permitting) over the next few weeks. Note this only includes our crews in Bexar County.


This week
I-10 between Edison Drive and Ralph Fair Road
I-10 between Edison Drive and Martin Street
I-10 between Flores Street and Roosevelt Ave
I-35 between Reyborn Drive and St. Mary's Street
I-35 between New Braunfels Ave and Walzem
I-410 between Crownhill Blvd and Perrin-Beitel
US 281 between Greyson and Cibolo Creek


May 30-June 3
I-35 between Reybourn Drive and the Bexar-Atascosa county line
I-410 between Hunters Pond and Jones-Maltsberger
I-410 between FM 78 and Hunter's Pond
US 90 between Barclay and the Bexar-Medina county line
US 90 between Nogalitos and Barclay St
Hwy 151 between US 90 and Loop 1604


June 4-10
US 90 between Barclay and the Bexar-Medina county line
Hwy 151 between US 90 and Loop 1604
New Laredo Hwy (Lp 353) between I-35 and SW Military
Hwy 16 between Seneca Drive and Hwy 211
Hwy 16 between I-410 and the Bexar-Atascosa county line
Poteet-Jourdanton Freeway between I-410 and I-35
Old Pearsall Road between SW Military and I-410
SW Military between Five Palm and the MPRR crossing


That's not all
Areas with the most growth get hit first,
generally speaking.
We have more - a lot more - coming, and we'll try to get that out as we get schedules from our field staff. Please keep in mind these locations are highly weather-dependent. Locations are prioritized by need, focusing first where growth may hinder a driver's line of sight, until we get all necessary tracts trimmed.
We typically wrap up our mowing cycle by mid-July, if the weather permits.


In a work zone
Quick word in parting: our crews typically will not mow within active construction zones. Those areas are maintained by our construction contractors and will be mowed as directed by our field office staff. These areas are actually mowed several times each year.

Tuesday, May 23

Mail Bag: The Binz-Engleman exit ramp, Transguide cameras, Displaced Left Turns and more

Any word on when the Transguide cameras at Loop 1604 and Stone Oak/Huebner/NW Military will be brought back online? I was really glad when these cameras were installed, since the congestion gets pretty bad in that area, but they've been down for several months now.
P.S. Thanks for all the great updates recently! Y'all are on a roll.
- Chris

Glad you like what we're doing - we're excited about the fiber optic wire and the wireless cameras going into our equipment and what that upgrade means to the system.
These cameras are actually a priority item for our guys at Transguide. The ITS pole controlling those cameras was hit by lightning back in April, destroying the radio transmitter and several other equipment items. We also lost a link in our wireless communications chain in the process.
We've ordered the surge suppressor which (hopefully) will arrive in the next several days. We're working to get the cables all inspected for lightning damage as well - it's a process! We hope to have things up and running again shortly.

Regarding the Loop1604 N-Bandera Rd area, I saw in the TIP a displaced left turn at that intersection - expect funding soon? Braun Rd/Bandera to 1604 eligible for state funding or identified future project. I asked COSA TCI and they are not aware of any project.
- Edward

Great questions. A couple of answers.
We'll talk first of the DLT (Displaced Left Turn) we're doing at the intersection of Bandera Road and Loop 1604. That's a project we should put out for bids next month. The $6.5 million project is something you'll see us post more about here in the next few weeks as we look to push the message of what a DLT does and  how it will help congestion at this location. By the way, this isn't the only location we're eyeing for a DLT; other candidate intersections include Culebra Road at Lp 1604, where we have growing significant issues with congestion and limited options due to the tight spaces out there.
As for improvements along Bandera between Braun Road and Loop 1604 ... we're still working toward that. We want to do something that makes sense and addresses the major needs of the Bandera Road corridor (now a top-10 spot in the area in terms of congestion woes), and we cannot do that without working on the entire corridor between I-410 and Lp 1604. We're hoping, right now, to get something going by 2022 - a date that can easily be changed in the TIP as our stakeholders can find a proper solution and we identify proper funding.
Whatever we do along Bandera, it'll focus on multimodal solutions.

Recently Exit 30 on the southbound lanes of Loop 410 was closed after the opening of the new right-hand exit from southbound I-35. I work in the Macro Prologis business park and now all the businesses on the east side of Loop 410 have to make protracted detours to get to our work destinations.
There seems to be no urgency by the contractor to open the exit or to even provide a temporary exit ramp for this area. Any idea when that exit ramp will be reopened?
- Ed

We are working on it, Ed ... some of the work is weather-dependent and we've had some logistical challenges thrown our way.
The ramp was closed because the elevation of the new direct connector (southbound I-35 to southbound I-410) didn't match the elevation of the existing Binz-Engleman exit ramp. We knew that'd be the case when we went in there, and it's something our communications team missed when we put forward info on the weekend closures that put the new connector into service.
Bottom line: we should have that ramp (exit 30) back in action next month. In the interim, the best route to take would be southbound I-35 exit to George Beach, turn left at George Beach and again onto the northbound frontage road. Follow the frontage road around the hairpin turn and that should get you where you need to go. Take a look at the route here.

Just wanted to say thanks for getting those signs up at the Shin Oak Park and Ride! The commercial vehicles are gone. I appreciate not having to look at a "truck stop" anymore when I drive by!
- Steven

Happy to help, Steven! Thanks for reaching out on the topic and letting us know of the issue.

I wrote in previously about the barrier at the 1604 Bandera Rd northbound exit and how it has been repeatedly destroyed since it was first installed. The answer I got was that people are distracted and need to pay better attention. I completely agree. Another person later wrote in that these distracted people should have to pay to fix barriers/guardrails. Again, I completely agree and I’m glad TxDOT has a process in place to seek reimbursement for such repairs.
What I’m asking is if there is someone at TxDOT who looks at high recurrence accident locations to see what might be done to help save life and property. I’m certainly no expert, but the way the exit lane is striped at the northbound Bandera exit off 1604 seems to point cars directly at the barrier. People hit it because they are not paying close enough attention and they should pay to get it fixed - got it - but if the discussion stops there, an opportunity is missed. All I’m asking for is some TxDOT engineer to take a really good look at the off-ramp trajectory and consider if re-striping it might help drivers (distracted or otherwise) better avoid the barrier. For the possibility of fewer accidents, fewer TxDOT repairs, and less work chasing reimbursements, it’s worth a look.
- Bob

Well, you'll get no argument out of us, Bob.
When areas are riddled with crashes we do evaluate the road and see what, if anything, can be done to improve the situation. This is generally prompted by abnormal volumes of work orders to clean up or repair things like crash attenuators, which means we've got an idea as to the frequency of crashes at any given location.
We won't wait for the work orders to pile up here, though, Bob. Our communications team has a note to our traffic operations folks to look at this location again. They'll address the issue as appropriate and keep an eye out there on it.

Monday, May 22

This week's construction-related closures

Sorry we didn't have this out Friday as per usual ... had some items pop up. This should get you through the remainder of this week!
 
I-10 – Kerr County
  • Current until Friday, July 7, at 5 p.m. Westbound exit ramp to FM 783 (Ingram Road) and eastbound entrance ramp from FM 783. The ramps will remain closed while crews rebuild the roadway. Traffic will use FM 783, Hwy 27 and Hwy 16 to reach its destination (the route is marked).
I-10 – Seguin
  • Current through Monday, May 29 at 4 p.m. Westbound frontage road between Business 123 and Grein Place. Alternating lanes will close while crews convert the frontage road to one-way only. This closure includes the intersection of Guadalupe Street as needed.
  • Wednesday, May 24. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Westbound main lanes between Business 123 and Hwy 123. The right lane will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Sunday-Friday, May 21-26. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walnut Street and Solms Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the road.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Current until Tuesday, August 1 at 5 a.m. Turnarounds, both directions, at Walzem Road. The turnarounds will remain closed while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Monday-Tuesday, May 22-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound exit ramp to Randolph Boulevard. The ramp will close while crews paint the overhead highway sign bridge. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Tuesday, May 22-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound connector ramp to westbound I-410. The right lane and shoulder will close while crews paint the overhead sign bridge.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at Walzem Road. The left lane will close while crews do bridge work.
I-35 – East San Antonio 
  • Wednesday-Friday, May 24-26. 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at New Braunfels Avenue. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit New Braunfels Avenue, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
I-35 – Downtown
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at U.S. Hwy 90. The left lane will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Wednesday, May 24. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at U.S. Hwy 90. The two right lanes will close while crews do bridge work. This includes the on ramp from Theo Avenue. Traffic will head south to Division Avenue, turn around and use the available ramp.
  • Tuesday, May 23. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Northbound main lanes at AT&T Parkway. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
I-410 – East San Antonio
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound connector ramp to eastbound I-10. The ramp will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Houston Street, turn around and approach eastbound I-10 from the northbound lanes.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Northbound exit to Culebra Road. The exit will close while crews widen the main lanes and frontage road. Traffic will exit Ingram Road, turn around and get to Culebra on the southbound frontage road.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Richland Hills and Hwy 151. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, May 23-24. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Hwy 151 and Culebra Road. The right lane will close while crews install camera poles. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Hwy 151. Traffic will continue along the frontage road and use the next available ramp.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 23-25. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Military Drive and Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews pour concrete. Traffic will use Richland Hills and Ingram Road to reach its destination.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 24-25. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Frontage roads, both directions, at Hwy 151. The right lane will be closed while crews work on traffic signal poles.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 24-25. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between Military Drive and I-410. The right lane will close while crews work on traffic signal poles.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, May 21-26. 7:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road between Medio Creek and Lp 1604. Alternating lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through June 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.
  • Current until Wednesday, May 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound exit ramp to northbound I-35. The ramp will close while crews do bridge repair work. Traffic will exit Theo Malone and turn around to reach northbound I-35.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Westbound exit ramp to Hunt Lane. The exit will close while crews work on retaining walls. Traffic will exit Ingram Road and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and Hunt Lane. The left lane will close while crews move barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound frontage road between I-410 and Ingram Road. The left lane will close while crews do overhead bridge work. This closure includes the on-ramp from I-410. Traffic will continue along the frontage road and use the next available ramp.
Other roads – Seguin
  • Current until August 31. Austin Street between Martindale and Seidman. The road will be converted to one-way only, moving southbound only, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination.
  • Saturday, April 29 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, April 30 at 6 a.m. The intersection of Rosemary Street and Austin Street. The intersection will close in all directions while crews install utility lines. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
Other roads – New Braunfels
  • Sunday-Friday, May 21-26. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound Hwy 46 between Hwy 758 and I-35. Alternating lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
Other roads – Boerne
  • Monday-Tuesday, May 22-23. 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Scenic Loop Road, both directions, at I-10. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will use the frontage road and turn around at Business 87 or at Balcones Creek to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between Ammann Road and Rust Lane as well as between Laubach Run and Oak Cliff Drive. Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
Other roads – Northeast San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Walzem, both directions, at I-35. Alternating lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Friday, May 24-26. 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. New Braunfels Avenue, both directions, at I-35. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work on the New Braunfels Avenue overpass. Traffic will turn right onto the frontage road and turn around to reach its destination.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Tuesday, May 23. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. FM 1560, both directions, between Alta Loma and Saltillo Flat. Alternating lanes will close while crews do utility work.
  • Monday-Friday, May 22-26. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Clover Creek. The left lane will close while crews work on raised medians.
All closures are pending weather.

Tuesday, May 16

Five quick tips to prevent hot-car child deaths

A 7-month-old boy died in a hot car in a Helotes Wal-Mart parking lot Aug. 12 last year. According to news stories the child's father arrived for his shift at Wal-Mart around 6:15 that morning and had forgotten to drop his son off at day care. The child was discovered by the father that afternoon about 3 o'clock - far too late. Temperatures in the area had reached triple digits that day outside the car, with temperatures inside the car rising at least another 20 degrees.
The boy was the 27th child that died from vehicular heatstroke in the US last year, and the sixth here in Texas. By the end of the year 39 children died across the country from vehicular heatstroke - the most since 2013 and sixth-highest all-time.

Stats from KidsAndCars.org
Already local temperatures have been reaching the low-90s since April, but the weather doesn't need to be particularly hot to lead to a tragedy. In March nine-month-old Bryce Balfour died of heatstroke in his mom's car with outside temps in Virginia barely reaching the mid-60s. Despite the relatively cool temps outside the interior was a scorching 110, more than enough to cause heat stroke.
Bryce Balfour was nine months old
when he died of vehicular heat stroke
March 2017.
Photo credit: KidsAndCars.com.
Bryce's mom said he had been sick all week and his parents hadn't been sleeping too well. When the exhaustion paired with an odd morning - some distractions through phone calls, major routine changes and changes in the placement of Bryce's diaper bag and car seat contributed to her believing she had dropped Bryce at daycare - the situation was ripe for tragedy. At this point the family has done what others have done in hoping their story can help save a child elsewhere. Bryce is one of six children who have died from vehicular heatstroke already in 2017. These are preventable deaths if we all follow some quick and easy steps. It is in that spirit we offer five quick tips to make sure you never have to think, as Bryce's mom thought, something like this could never happen to you.
 
 
1 - This absolutely could happen to you
"When the ambulance arrives and we rush to the hospital, I am in shock and overcome in disbelief that this cannot be happening to me," Bryce's mom wrote. "I cannot be the type of mother who would accidentally forget her child."
This is a familiar refrain from other parents sharing their stories. Each has admitted, in one way or another, criticizing parents involved with other tragedies while simultaneously scoffing at the idea this could ever happen to them. Good parents would never forget a child, after all, and we all believe ourselves to be fantastic parents.
In this arena, however, a truly good parent is one who can readily admit their own vulnerability to an event like this. Honest confession of the reality of this threat is the first step toward prevention in your family.
 
2 - Always check the back seat
Dozens of techniques or suggestions exist to help make this routine, ranging from sticky notes to bracelets to other devices. The bottom line: simply get into the habit of checking all car seats before leaving your vehicle. The life of any parent with small children is hectic and problems can come quickly when other routines are broken. This is the routine that safeguards against other broken routines! If you need some ideas, try one of these:
  • Open the back doors - an act that can double to make sure your vehicle is secure - before walking away.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the car seat that gets moved to the front seat when a child is on board.
  • Place a diaper bag in the front seat each time a child is in his or her car seat.
  • Store your phone (or something else you'd never leave your car without) near your child's car seat. This could also serve to reduce your distractions while driving!

3 - Secure your car at home
This sounds like a basic idea, but so many - particularly in rural areas - keep their vehicles open and unlocked while at home. Locking a car doesn't simply deter a bad guy from taking your stuff; the act prevents children from getting into and playing in hot cars. Those with small children know how much kids love to play in cars - there's just something about a steering wheel that's more alluring to a toddler than a teenager.
Kids often get into cars to retrieve a favorite toy - sometimes sent by their parents. Many parents engage the child lock on the car door, preventing children from opening the door from the inside. This can become tragically fatal if a child shuts the door. The answer isn't to disengage the child safety lock (it's there for a reason!), but to simply keep the car secured and keep tabs on the kids when they are sent to fetch something from your vehicle. Remember: it only takes 15 minutes for a child to die or suffer lasting harm from heat stroke.
Don't feel bad about asking visitors and neighbors to similarly secure their vehicles - safety is the responsibility of everybody.
And pay special attention to your trunk - we often forget about that compartment, though most of us frequently fail to shut it completely when driving around.

4 - Set up a phone reminder from your daycare or school
Most stories we hear - including those of Bryce and of our young friend from Helotes - involve parents mistakenly believing they had dropped off their children at day care. By time the realization sets in a mistake was made, several hours have passed and it's too late.
The folks at KidsAndCars.org say you should have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about drop-off. If your child isn't attending daycare as scheduled, it's the parents' responsibility to alert the childcare provider. If your child does not arrive as scheduled and have not received a call from a parent, they pledge to contact you immediately.
We have similar programs in place with our schools - the "absence hotline" that calls home when a child misses classes at various levels. This system isn't automated, though, and involves your child care provider reaching out until they've successfully made contact. This simple reminder might just save the life of your child.

5 - If you see something, take action
If you see a child - or a pet! - alone in a car, even with the windows left open a crack, call 911 immediately. If the child is visibly hot or in distress, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible. First check all doors to see if a door was left unlocked. If the car is locked select a window away from the child to break so the broken glass doesn't cause any injury to the child. Do not attempt to break the window with your hand or elbow to avoid injury to yourself. Once a window is opened, unlock and open the doors. Treat the child for heat stroke as appropriate.
Make sure someone is sent into the establishment near the car to locate the child's caretaker. Remember to reserve judgment - most of these issues involve otherwise excellent parents who suffer a momentary lapse.
One note worth sharing: many states have adopted laws protecting good Samaritans in the act of saving a child from a hot car. Texas has not yet adopted such a law, and we're not here to advocate in one way or another (it's illegal for us to do so). We simply want folks to be aware of the laws and protections that are or are not out there. Right now Texas law is silent in any direction on this matter.


Bonus - Use drive-through services when available
It's counter-intuitive to those hoping to add to their daily steps through running errands, but this minor convenience service could prove life-saving. Parents look to avoid waking children up from midday naps, and have even been known to leave a child in a car intentionally because the child is napping. These children sadly never wake up when temps rise. Again, it only takes 15 minutes for a problem to arise. Most of us can't run into a grocery store and successfully get a gallon of milk in less time than that.
Drive-through services are everywhere now: banking, restaurants, pharmacies, dry cleaners and grocery stores. Consider using these services when running errands with children to ensure your children remain safe. When getting gas, pay at the pump when possible so your child isn't left unattended in that hot car.
For those of you looking to add to those steps, you'll have to make them up with a walk to the mailbox or something. Be sure to take your stroller, though, and make sure your kids enjoy the walk with you.

Monday, May 15

Nine quick project updates

No matter what part of San Antonio you're driving in, chances are you're encountering a construction project. Though we have dozens of projects active right now, we needed to focus on the biggest jobs we have going.
If you've been bitten by the curiosity bug (or no someone who has), take a gander and share this with your friends. We're trying to keep each of these updates brief, so this should go pretty fast:


US 281
We ceremoniously broke ground on this project March 31 and have since been awaiting some paperwork that will allow Webber Construction to get rolling. That paperwork was resting with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, and we believe the paperwork is now on its way back to us. As soon as we get that paperwork in hand we'll be able to get working. Bottom line: we're hoping to be underway in June.


I-35 SAMMC
Some have called or emailed in regarding the southbound I-410 exit to Binz-Engleman, which has been closed since we moved traffic onto the new southbound I-35 connector to southbound I-410. Long story short we needed Lane Construction to rebuild the ramp to fit the new connector road, and that should be done here in the next few weeks (translation: mid-June).


1604-151
Work between Bandera and Culebra is long done, and now our work at the intersection of Hwy 151 and Loop 1604 is finished as well. In fact, lingering questions regarding the intersection of Alamo Ranch Parkway and Westwood Loop will not be addressed by our project; those will go to Bexar County Public Works instead. We are looking into some options for highway signs to get traffic from Hwy 151 to Culebra Road, though.


Loop 1604 Northwest
If you've not driven 1604 south of Hwy 151 lately ... well, you may be surprised by what you find. We've got Zachry Construction getting it done between Wiseman and Potranco, and Webber is at work between Potranco and US 90. Heck, they've been at it for six months already, and it's getting obvious. Webber is gearing up to set bridge support beams for what will be the southbound overpass at Potranco Road in the next few weeks, and Zachry continues to work hard to build those southbound lanes on the length of their project.


Potranco Road
The medians are intended to restrict left-turn movements, so if your top complaint is that you can no longer turn left where you wanted ... well, that means the median is doing its job. Yes, the cuts in the median were carefully thought out (read more on this here). We are very near finishing work here, and should be wrapped up and have a final product for you by the end of the month, weather permitting.


UTSA Boulevard
This is another project that's wrapping up. We're resurfacing the project between Ximenes and almost I-10 right now and hope to be out of there in June. The city's portion of the project (between Ximenes and Babcock) still has work to finish, but our end of things is nearly complete.


I-10 Leon Springs
The new eastbound exit ramp to Dominion Drive is open (as of Thursday last week) and traffic is finally in its final configuration between Ralph Fair Road and Dominion Drive. We still have a few minor things to wrap up, but we should be out of people's way. Expect to see Texas Sterling begin putting the final course of asphalt on the road later this week, if weather cooperates. That process should take no more than two weeks to wrap up.


151-410
Yep, we've got a ton of overnight closures in this area right now. Crews are working hard to get whatever bridge beams set they can and are working particularly hard on the bridge structures making up the new exit ramps along northbound and southbound I-410 around Culebra Road. The northbound ramp to Culebra that's been closed since late last year is progressing, and should be reopened in August. Overall completion for this project is still set for next year.


90-410
Williams Brothers is moving pretty darned fast on this project and are focusing on the foundational structures near the intersection of I-410 and US 90 itself. As this work ramps up (and work on US 90 between Loop 1604 and I-410 winds down over the next couple months) expect to see things hit the intensity we're now seeing at 151-410. The two projects are, after all, pretty darned identical. By the way, that mess on the southbound side between Hwy 151 and Marbach is something we're trying to get fixed. The redundant exit ramps will be a major item we address with the project.



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