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Friday, March 24

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 31. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road between FM 1516 and Foster Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews build drain structures. One-way traffic will be controlled by flaggers.
I-10 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Sunday-Monday, March 26-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Boerne Stage Road and Dominion Drive. The right lane will close while crews lay asphalt.
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Current until Monday, April 10 at 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes at Walnut Avenue. The right lane will remain closed while crews repair the roadway. This closure includes the northbound entrance ramp from Schmidt Avenue. Traffic will continue through the Walnut intersection and use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Monday, March 26-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between the Hays-Comal county line and FM 306. Alternating lanes will close while crews fix potholes.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Sunday-Monday, March 26-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound exit to southbound I-410. The ramp will close while crews move barrier and repair potholes. Traffic will exit George Beach and turn around to reach southbound I-410.
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Walzem. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – Southwest San Antonio
  • Current through Friday, March 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound main lanes between Cassin Lane and I-410. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Saturday, March 25. 4 a.m. until noon. Northbound main lanes between Nogalitos and Theo Malone. The two right lanes will close while crews do concrete work.
I-410 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Friday, March 28-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound connector to northbound I-35. The right lane will close while crews build concrete barrier.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until April 30, 2017. 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.
  • Friday, March 24 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, March 26 at 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Marbach and US Hwy 90. The right two lanes will close while crews reconstruct the road. This closure includes the southbound on ramp from Marbach. Traffic will continue along the frontage road and use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 26-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Military Drive and Marbach. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will follow the posted detour.
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic from Hwy 151 will continue east and turn left onto Military Drive to reach I-410.
  • Tuesday, March 28-Saturday, April 7. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. This closure includes the exit ramp to Hwy 151. Traffic will exit Military Drive, turn right onto Richland Hills and left onto Ingram Road to reach Hwy 151.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through May 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.
U.S. Hwy 281 – North-central San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, March 26-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Rhapsody and I-410. The left two lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 26-31. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between I-35 and I-410. The right lane will closed while crews do road work. This closure includes ramps as needed.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes and frontage road between Ingram Road and I-410. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Main lane traffic will exit I-410 and join frontage road traffic to follow the posted detour to reach its destination.
  • 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, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination.
Other roads – North San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Broadway, both directions, between Austin Highway and Patterson Avenue. The left lane will close while crews install concrete median.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Randolph Boulevard, both directions, at I-35. Alternating lanes will close while crews paint the bridge overhead.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, March 26-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Military Drive, both directions, at I-410. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will use the northbound frontage road to Culebra Road and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Friday, March 27-31. 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Hunt Lane and Military Drive. The left lane will close while crews install raised concrete medians.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, March 22

FM 1103 (bridge) expansion to begin

So, earlier this week we addressed a question about the FM 1103 overpass at I-35.


We goofed
The answer we gave then was partially wrong - an error we've found earlier today, and would like to clear up.
The question posed was about whether the bridge would be expanded to include turnarounds as part of the FM 1103 expansion planned for mid-2019. We correctly mentioned that project would not include a bridge expansion.
Where we made the mistake was inferring the bridge expansion would come at a much later date. We try hard to make sure our Mail Bag answers are accurate and on point; we missed the boat with this one.


The reality
We received bids on the FM 1103 bridge expansion project earlier this month. Anderson Columbia submitted the lowest bid at $7.3 million and, barring something unforeseen, should be awarded the contract by the Texas Transportation Commission later this month. We plan to actually begin work on the new bridge mid-summer this year (we do not yet have a start date). We should wrap up about the start of 2019.
That means the bridge should be open and fully functional well before our start on the FM 1103 expansion between I-35 and Rodeo Way.


Finished project
When it's all done, you'll have two eastbound lanes (headed toward Schertz from I-35) and three westbound lanes (one continuing onto Hubertus Road and two turning left onto the I-35 southbound frontage road). You'll also see turnarounds - in both directions - at the bridge. This configuration should significantly improve the flow of traffic at this increasingly busy intersection.


The daily impact
During the course of construction we'll maintain one lane of traffic in each direction. This will look much like what we've done along the I-10 corridor at the intersections of Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway. Occasional full closures of I-35 will be required, and we'll make sure we let folks know about them as they come. These will likely be very major closures, impacting traffic for entire weekends.
We take that kind of stuff seriously!
To reiterate, the bridge itself will remain open through the duration of construction; it'll keep the configuration you have today. That means though you'll see orange barrels everywhere, your daily delay into work will be no more than what you're experiencing now.
Funny how those orange barrels make it seem like a lot longer, though, right?

Monday, March 20

Mail Bag: I-10 stuff, FM 1103, US 281 and more

Part two, as promised....

Regarding the ARP/WWL intersection, I know TxDOT San Antonio has received a lot of complaints about this project. I really don't have a complaint, but a suggestion. I have noticed a lack of signage directing traffic on the SB 1604 Access road to the Santiko's entrance off of the SB 1604 Access Road. The only sign is a small one liner next to the entrance. I would suggest that TxDOT place directional signage prior to Alamo Ranch Parkway to direct SB 1604 traffic to the 1604 Santiko's entrance. This may help alleviate some of the illegal left-hand turns that are occurring at the ARP/WWL intersection.
- Benjamin

You're right, Benjamin, we have gotten a lot of feedback about this intersection. We'll be making a brief post on the intersection in the next week or so.
In the meantime, you've asked a pretty common question - why not sign for Santikos off the southbound frontage road of Loop 1604? The short answer: we can't.
That little sign you're seeing was put up by Santikos. We are aware of its existence, and we're tolerating it for now. We can't put bigger signs up, and we can't direct traffic to a specific business. That's all called advertising, and TxDOT is not in the business of advertising private businesses on our right-of-way.
Santikos is welcome to do what they can to elevate the awareness of that entrance among their patrons through advertising - but cannot advertise in our right-of-way.

Why no closure info this week? Specifically looking for info on US90 Gen McMullen closure.
- Dave

Dave sent this note in to us a few weeks ago, for those wondering what he's talking about.
Dave, we're sorry we missed that post! The blog is run by a very small staff, and when we're out of the office we don't get a chance to post some of that info. The closures are sent to us by project staff and are due to communications staff by Friday at noon. That doesn't always happen. The result: we are unable to pre-load a post for next week's closures beyond getting it put together on Friday afternoons.
When we're gone on Fridays, we do what we can to get the post up as soon as we can. For instance: this week's closures were sent to media Friday early afternoon but not posted until earlier today.
We're sorry!

Y'all recently did repair work in the area of mile marker 194 on I-35 southbound. The outside lane has a section of repair that does not look like it was completed or was completed poorly. It has a rut in it that can catch a driver off guard and move a small vehicle especially, to the right unexpectedly. I drive the area everyday in a small car. Even knowing it's there it can be disturbing when I can't change lanes.
- Bob

We're still working on the rehab of the asphalt out there in that area, so we'll make sure that area gets an extra look for you, Bob. Hopefully we can address the pavement issue soon.

Do you have any updates on the FM 1103 project in Schertz & Cibolo? I have not seen the plans since the open house about a year ago. Will the bridge at I-35 get turnarounds? It would be great to see something nice similar to what TxDOT Austin did at Yarrington Road in Kyle. I like what they did, but there are a lot of busy exits that do not have turnarounds like that!
- John

For starters we're eyeing mid-2019 to get bids on the expansion of FM 1103 between I-35 and Rodeo Way. Those who missed the open house can see what we talked about online here. Heck, we've even got a summary and analysis of our public meeting there.
The quick answer to where things are at: we're busy in the right-of-way acquisition process. This can take a while, and we want to be sure it's all done before we bid the contract. Between now and then we'll make adjustments to the project as needed, but it looks like the bulk of the design presented at the open house will be what you see.
As for the bridge ... that's not part of the existing project. We'll get to that bridge reconstruction in the near future, but it's not currently included in the FM 1103 expansion. We have it on our radar, though, and as soon as we can afford to make it happen we will.


Has there been any studies on the traffic signals on UTSA Blvd and I-10 recently? Almost constantly, those turning left from the bridge of UTSA Blvd overpass towards the eastbound side will continue to keep turning for up to 15 seconds longer than the light allows. I've been at the intersection several times where I'll sit on a green for at least 20 seconds before even starting my accelerator (and the one time I didn't, I ended up in an accident). What can or should be done in this area?
- Rey
Sounds to us, Rey, like you've got a law enforcement issue going on. Have you reached out to SAPD on this matter? Any time someone is running a light that would be a moving violation. To have them continue more than 20 seconds means your green time is completely shot (green lights at intersections like this typically only remain green 20 seconds or so). If that's what's happening, you've got a major law enforcement issue that needs addressed by law enforcement.


Now that the TTC has accepted the bid from Webber Construction for the expansion of US 281 north of Loop 1604 , when will we know more about the construction schedule including road closures and traffic diversions to the new frontage roads?
- Tom

We're planning to hold a groundbreaking ceremony March 31. We won't have details of closures until a few weeks prior to work actually beginning, which looks to be by early May. We'll post more about the overall project in an upcoming post.

Can you post a project summary of the expansion of FM 1957 (Potranco) from 1604 to 211? Specifically looking for an overall project plan and anticipated schedule. Thank you (we just moved into the area and want to know what to expect and when).
- Steve

Welcome, Steve, and thank you for your service to our nation!
The short answer to your question is that the expansion of Potranco Road is actually being done by Bexar County Public Works. We don't have updates here at TxDOT, but you can reach out to the folks at Bexar County for an update.

Where on the TxDOT web site can I find the plan for expanding I-10 from the Rim to Boerne. I see the intended closures on the blog but cannot find "the diagram/plan" for the on going work? Thank you in advance.
- Glenn

We have a few sets of schematics, Glenn. Pick your favorite:
The I-10 Kendall extension builds up I-10 between Fair Oaks Pkwy and Hwy 46, including a new overpass at Balcones Creek Road and conversion of the frontage roads to one-way.
Here's a look at the future HOV lanes on I-10 between Ralph Fair Road and La Cantera Pkwy.
This is our information on the current work at Scenic Loop Road (and NO we are not messing with the entrance and exit ramps as part of this project!).
We have the new overpass at Old Fred Road (with concurrent frontage road conversion between Ralph Fair and Fair Oaks) that's ongoing.
Finally, the work on I-10 between Ralph Fair Road and Dominion Drive - which is set to be done by the end of this month, by the way - has information available here.

This week's construction-related closures

I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 20-21. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. Eastbound main lanes at Amanda Street. The left two lanes will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, March 21-22. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. Westbound main lanes at Amanda Street. The right two lanes will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road.
I-35 – New Braunfels 
  • Sunday, March 19. 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Northbound frontage road at Walnut Avenue. The left lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Sunday-Monday, March 19-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes at Walnut Avenue. All lanes will close while crews set barrier and restripe the road. Only two lanes will close between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday night; the full closure will take effect at 11 p.m. Traffic will exit Walnut, follow the frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Monday, March 20 at 6 a.m. until Monday, April 10 at 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes at Walnut Avenue. The right lane will remain closed while crews repair the roadway. This closure includes the northbound entrance ramp from Schmidt Avenue. Traffic will continue through the Walnut intersection and use the next available ramp.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio 
  • Monday-Thursday, March 20-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and George Beach. Alternating lanes will close while crews paint overhead structures.
  • Monday, March 20. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Northbound main lanes at the entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The right lane will close while asphalt trucks re-enter the highway. 
I-35 – Southwest San Antonio 
  • Current through Friday, March 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound main lanes between Cassin Lane and I-410. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.  
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Saturday, March 18. 4 a.m. until noon. Northbound main lanes between Nogalitos and Theo Malone. The two right lanes will close while crews do concrete work.  
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until April 30, 2017. 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.
  • Sunday-Monday, March 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will follow the posted detour to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Friday, March 20-24. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews set bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will use Hwy 151 to reach Military Drive to reach northbound I-410.  
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through May 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.  
U.S. Hwy 281 – North-central San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-35 and I-410. The two right lanes will close while crews do road work. This closure includes ramps as needed.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 19-24. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Rhapsody and I-410. The left two lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.  
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes and frontage road between Ingram Road and I-410. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Main lane traffic will exit I-410 and join frontage road traffic to follow the posted detour to reach its destination.
  • 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 – New Braunfels
  • Monday-Friday, March 20-24. 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 306, both directions, between River Chase Way and Hoffman Lane. Traffic will be limited to a single lane, controlled by flaggers, while crews do road work. 
Other roads – Seguin
  • Current until August 31. Austin Street between Martindale and Seidman. The road will be converted to one-way only, moving southbound, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination. 
Other roads – East San Antonio 
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 20-21. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound Foster Road at I-10. The right lane will close while crews do road work. 
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 20-24. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Clover Creek and Hwy 151. The left lane will close while crews install raised concrete medians.
All closures are pending weather.

Thursday, March 16

Mail Bag: driver responsibility, crash cushions, lane restrictions, I-410 work

So ... we've not done a Mail Bag post in a while, so we've got a lot of questions to go through. This is the first of two installments, which will all publish in the next week.

There seems to have been some lane changes on the I-410 S access road at Vista West Dr. It's gone down to one lane which is causing significant traffic backups in the morning. Is this temporary?
- Mike

So, the single lane is temporary while we've got construction going on right there (more in a moment). One thing that's not temporary is the elimination of the redundancy with the Lakeside Parkway exit (from which you couldn't really even reach Lakeside Parkway) and the Marbach exit.
The work is a major "operational improvement" (engineerese for "we're changing the way things work...") along I-410 between US 90 and Hwy 151. That work started with the new year this year (ahem, that's 2017) and will take about two and a half years to finish.
When we're all done you'll have a new lane in each direction on the I-410 main lanes between Hwy 151 and US 90. You'll have reconfigured exit and entrance ramps to allow a more fluid traffic flow along the corridor, which means the frontage roads are being adjusted. Oh, and we're making sure the curbs and sidewalks along these frontage roads are just right.
The cherry on top? New direct connectors at US 90, moving eastbound traffic on US 90 to northbound I-410 and southbound traffic from I-410 to westbound US 90. That means if you're commute goes between, say, Castroville and the Crossroads area ... it'll get a lot nicer when we're all done (at the end of 2019).

The I-10 westbound access road between Dominion Drive and Boerne Stage Road looks almost complete. Can you tell us when this access road will open both lanes?
-Robert
By now, Robert, you know we have things opened up to two lanes. We've posted on this a bit more earlier this month (you've likely seen it by now), but the bottom line is we'll have traffic in its final configuration by the first week of April. That's still on schedule, by the way!

I have two concerns. My first is about the intersection of the frontage roads of Loop 1604 and I-10. I've almost been hit multiple times as drivers get into the turn lane for the Top Golf entrance, disregard the pavement markings and continue straight to get to the I-10 frontage. The current markings aren't working, so I'm now avoiding the area. My second is about the park-and-ride at I-35 and Shin Oak. Apparently it has turned into a park-and-stay for 18-wheelers. This looks horrible and seems to have discouraged the few people who were actually using it as designed from doing so. Many years ago there used to be a sign that said "No Overnight Parking" there. What can be done about these two concerns?
- Steven

So ... it seems we have a law enforcement issue with the traffic ignoring the regulatory lane markers. We've been through a slew of different ideas with this area (the Top Golf driveway...), and right now we've done all we can feasibly do. The next steps require some serious concessions from the property owners we're unlikely to get - like permission to permanently close the driveway altogether.
As for the park-and-ride issue, this is a problem that occurs at every park-and-ride we have in the region. Heck, some folks have been known to park their cars and post them for sale at these lots, which we had to remedy by threatening folks to tow their cars. We're getting with our maintenance folks to try and re-post those signs if possible - it may help a little.

I've noticed that the collapsible guardrail end cap at the northbound Loop 1604 exit to Bandera is continually destroyed, fixed, and then smashed again. Is there any plan to smooth out or widen that area so that cars are not pointed directly at the barrier end cap when they exit? It seems like the exit angle is too tight or at least tighter than what people anticipate. It might just take a re-stripe of the area to flatten out the exit curve a bit. It's scary to take that exit if you're not anticipating being pointed directly at the barrier end cap. It feels like an emergency evasive maneuver to not hit it.
- Bob

This is a problem we're having at multiple locations - people keep forgetting to keep their vehicle between the lines and end up running into these crash cushions. We are repairing them constantly all over the region; it's not just at this location.
The major crashes we've seen at this location all involve failure to control speed (certainly that was the case with the first major crash on this ramp) and a failure to maintain proper attention. That means folks are distracted.
Certainly a crash cushion can sneak up on a driver when their eyes aren't on the road - and that's what's happening here, Bob. Folks simply aren't paying attention to driving. The motorized vehicle is the single deadliest weapon in America, and folks don't pay attention to what they're doing while wielding it. Scary!

Any update on what defines a "truck", in reference to the "No Trucks Left Lane" signs? I noticed that the regulation's language permits trucks to use the left lane for passing; if that is true, it almost makes that statute redundantly unnecessary since the left lane (for passenger cars and trucks) is for passing only anyways.
- Mark

Well, short of going to law school for this one, we've done a little digging and come up with better information than the last time we get on this topic. Here goes....
The definition of "truck" according to Texas Transportation Code is a motor vehicle that's designed and operated to transport property. If you want to read it on your own, look for Texas Code 541.001(21) here. Further definition of a "truck" for these restrictions typically does include a requirement of three or more axles - see the first paragraph of this TTC Minute Order from Hill County in 2012 for an example. You'll note the reference to "truck tractors", which is defined in section 22 of 541.001 referenced above.
While that minute order pertains to somewhere that's not San Antonio, the Texas Highwayman shows the history of the left-lane restrictions locally (which, by the way, began back in 2004).
The legal result? An emphasis on getting trucks out of the left lane with stiffer penalties. You're absolutely right about the left lane for the rest of us - it's really designed for passing only (note to you who like to hang out in the left lane ... you're doing it wrong). This whole "no trucks" thing simply adds extra teeth for those big wheelers.

I heard about a 3-car accident at westbound 1604 and Stone Oak, just before the exit to Blanco, on the news this morning and it reminded me of other major accident crashes at that location due to the merging traffic. I drive through there everyday and it always seems that something happens probably once every 2 weeks or so (probably more often than that), and I see y'all replacing the damaged guardrails probably once a month at that location. Forgive me, but it seems like a waste of money to keep repeatedly replacing the guardrails that often. I'm just curious if y'all had noticed that's an emerging trouble spot due to the recently constructed ramps, and was wondering if you had any thoughts on that, and if TxDOT (or the city) have any future plan of action?
- Mike

To be completely honest, Mike, the best plan of action is to ask drivers to follow those basic driving principles we all learn in drivers' education as new drivers - but somehow forget with experience.
The problem isn't highway design, it's rude and poor driving habits. As you'll note, Mike, we have other locations where these guardrails and crash cushions are being repaired on the regular. Heck, we have crews repairing these safety features at some location in our city pretty much every day.
That's unacceptable. For us, we're focused on what we call "vision zero". This is a collaborative effort with the city of San Antonio to help make our multimodal transportation routes as safe as possible. It's not something we can do on our own, though. Ultimately driver responsibility has to enter.
That's why you won't hear us referring to these collisions as "accidents" - because they're not an accident. Safety is no accident, Mike. It's very deliberate.
These crashes occur because a driver is being negligent. They are failing to control speed, driving while distracted or driving while intoxicated. They are being rude and following too closely, failing to yield or failing to merge properly. They don't signal. They ignore the world around them and just do them ... and that selfish driving behavior is killing folks.
We will continue to design safe roads and post the "instructions" of safe use everywhere. But we need drivers who won't ignore these instructions to keep the facilities safe.

Tuesday, March 14

Wurzbach Parkway and NW Military ... still developing

We are hearing from some who live near the planned project at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and NW Military that the plans presented at our recent forum are concrete regardless of input from the public.
With this in mind we want to review (briefly) what's happening, why we're doing it and where we are in the planning process.
For information on the project (if you're not familiar already), check it out here.


The plan in principle
The main goal of what we're trying to do is get the main lanes of Wurzbach Parkway through Northwest Military Drive and, potentially, Lockhill-Selma (for a later project, perhaps). Once Wurzbach Parkway pushes through Lockhill-Selma it's no longer a parkway and becomes Wurzbach Road, a city facility. Frankly, after that point the road just isn't designed to be a parkway but an arterial. With the heavy development approaching I-10, we simply don't have a lot of options to take the parkway all the way to I-10.


The problem we're solving
When we finished the last segment of Wurzbach Parkway back in 2015 drivers began using the route as an east-west expressway between I-10 and I-35. The problem is the number of traffic signals at the bookends of Wurzbach.
Why the signals? Because, frankly, Wurzbach was not initially intended to be an expressway. When designed in the 1980s it was intended to be a connector route for communities east and west of US Hwy 281. Those first segments were on the bookends (we worked from the outside and went toward the middle) and included traffic signals.
Drivers should know once Wurzbach crosses Lockhill-Selma (on the west) and Weidner (on the east) it's a city street. TxDOT only owns and maintains the portion between those two roads.
Over the years driver demands have changed and we've tried to accommodate those changes. One such accommodation was the increase of speed limits on the Parkway from 45 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour. This increase was done because of the overwhelming demand from drivers in the area.
With traffic moving rather quickly in the middle, we're seeing traffic really bog down once it hits Northwest Military. We think if we can get that higher-speed traffic through that intersection we should see enough of a reduction in traffic volumes approaching Lockhill-Selma and beyond things will be pretty manageable.
This brought the city council office for District 8 in San Antonio to have us sit down and think through some options to promote better traffic flow. We even dedicated about $1 million to studying traffic patterns to figure out where people are trying to go and how we can best help them get there. The work has yielded some interesting results and is still ongoing.


One solution
Again, the goal is to push main lane traffic through the intersection of Northwest Military and allow others to seek alternate routes at the intersection without bogging down the through traffic. One design that will help this along and was presented is a SPUI at the intersection of the Wurzbach exit ramps and Northwest Military. The intersection would favor left- and right-hand turns onto Northwest Military as traffic moves to communities in the area.
This is a new design to San Antonio used fairly effectively elsewhere across the nation - and beyond - as an innovation in traffic configurations. Without trying new things, after all, we'll end up with the same result and continue being bogged down at traditional intersections. Being forward-thinking about the current and future problems of the intersections is what our folks were trying to accomplish.
That said, some have criticized the idea as being overly burdensome for some specific neighborhoods. These have provided feedback, including comments, that will be considered in the final design of the project.


It isn't set in stone
With our road designs, this really popular idiom is, well, literal. Until a project has been constructed with concrete poured and asphalt laid, we typically have at least a little wiggle room. While we're still designing the project we've got a lot of wiggle room.
Though the official comment period is up March 15, we're still open to suggestions. The deadline is set so we have a cut-off point to include comments in our official records of the public hearing process and is designed to keep us compliant with state and federal rules on this sort of thing. The deadline isn't a hard deadline.
Once we get to March 16, the plans aren't set in stone.
In fact, we're still really early in the planning process (we'll have to post on what that is another time...). If you've got input on the project, sent it our way. Well, send it to the folks with Parsons-Brinkerhoff who are helping us on these plans. They can be reached at wurzbach@pbworld.com.
Or you can always just send it to us. Please email it to us using the online form here - leaving comments through the blog is not the most effective way to let us know what you think on this one.


Every project has trade-offs
Ultimately, these are your roads. We can come up with every forward-thinking design we can cart out, but if these ideas aren't meeting the needs you have now and you think will exist in the next 5-25 years ... well, we won't go that route.
As our director of transportation planning and development often says, we don't like to go where we're not wanted.
This means getting the trade-offs you are willing to make and want to see happen. So let us know - keep the ideas coming! We have changes on nearly every single project we develop stemming from public input. If you don't like the ideas we're coming up with, tell us what you don't like and what you would do different - and we'll try to incorporate those ideas to the best of our ability.
Note we do consider a democratic process here. If a complaint is from one single individual while the overwhelming feedback from others is to do the opposite, we're going to stick with the masses. That doesn't mean you need to organize on NextDoor to inundate us with feedback, however. Designating a representative for your HOA to speak on behalf of the group (and clarify they are indeed representing a number of voices) will typically do the trick.


For what it's worth
Take a look at the presentation from the public meeting, if you missed it. Some cool stuff on the SPUI in there. We've also posted the schematic and a video presentation. Check them out so you know the ideas we're coming up with!

Saturday, March 11

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, March 15-16. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road at Woodlake Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews install storm drain structures. Traffic will be limited to a single lane and will be controlled by a flagger.
  • Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. until Monday, March 19 at 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road at Woodlake Parkway. All lanes will close while crews install storm drain structures. Traffic will follow the posted detour route. 
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Sunday-Friday, March 12-17. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at Walnut Avenue. Two right lanes will close while crews repair the roadway. This closure includes the on ramp from Spur Street and the exit ramp to Seguin Avenue. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • The full closure of northbound I-35 at Walnut Avenue is still postponed until further notice. 
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, March 12-17. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work. 
  • Sunday-Friday, March 12-17. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work. 
  • Sunday-Friday, March 12-17. 9 pm. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Rittiman Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 13-17. 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work. 
I-35 – Southwest San Antonio
  • Current through Friday, March 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound main lanes between Cassin Lane and I-410. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work. 
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Sunday-Monday, March 12-13. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Broadway and I-410. The left lanes will close while crews do roadwork.
  • Monday, March 13 until Friday, April 14. 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road at New Braunfels Avenue. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews work on curbs and sidewalks.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until April 30, 2017. 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-Tuesday, March 13-14. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road between Military Drive and Culebra Road. All lanes will close while crews reconfigure the road. Traffic will enter the main lanes, exit Ingram Road and turn around to reach Culebra Road.
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 13-14. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Military Drive and Culebra Road. The right lane will close while crews reconfigure the road.
  • Monday-Wednesday, March 13-15. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between Culebra and Ingram roads. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through May 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work. 
U.S. Hwy 281 – North-central San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 12-16. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-35 and I-410. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work. 
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. 
  • Saturday-Sunday, March 11-12. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Ingram Road and I-410. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Ingram Road. Traffic will exit I-410, travel through the intersection and re-enter at 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, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination. 
Other roads – East San Antonio

  • Current until Friday, March 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Houston Street, both directions, at I-410. Alternating lanes will close while crews do bridge work overhead.

Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 13-17. 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Clover Creek and Hwy 151. The left lane will close while crews install raised concrete medians. 
All closures are pending weather.
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