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Monday, December 23

In Uvalde: Drain and driving improvements for Hwy 55

In a project set to start January 6, we are adding a center left-turn lane and significant storm drain upgrades in a year-long project on state Highway 55 through the northern neighborhoods of Uvalde.

Ray Faris, Inc., of San Antonio, will build the $3 million project that addresses long-standing needs for the 1.25-mile stretch of state highway from U.S. Highway 83 to just beyond the city limits. Curbs and sidewalks will line the refurbished road, offering residents of the neighborhood a safer route as they walk or bike to various destinations.

We believe this project will improve the quality of life for those living in this immediate neighborhood, and the quality of drive for those passing through. We’re proud to be partnering with the city of Uvalde to make this project go.

The first phase of work will include a temporary widening of the road on the westbound side of the road, allowing traffic to shift over while crews build the planned drain boxes along the eastbound side of the road.

Friday, December 20

Work the week of Christmas

Only a handful of projects - and none that impact active travel lanes of TxDOT roadways - will be active through the next week and a half.

In fact, most of our contractors are asking for the entire week off due to Christmas and the accompanying busy traffic in the area (not to mention their own desire to spend the time with family). Those requests have been granted.

So you know where to expect seeing work around the area, here's a look at what each major project should look like between today and New Year's (keep in mind there will be no lane closures next week):

I-10 Huebner
While crews will be off the project Dec. 24-26, expect some light activity Monday and Friday. Heavy work will begin again the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 4.

I-35 Selma
Most of the project will be quiet for at least the next week, but activity will be back in full swing after New Year's. Any activity you see between this weekend and New Year's will be pretty light. Remember - the intersection at FM 3009 will be opened up to allow heavier traffic flows TODAY!

I-35 SAMMC
This is a project that will continue a bit next week. Expect a quiet workzone Dec. 24-26, but otherwise we should see activity throughout. Nothing will impact travel lanes, meaning no lane closures, but we'll be out there working.

Loop 1604 Marbach
Again, expect things to be pretty quiet next week, but around New Year's work will begin pushing hard again.

Fred-Med
The contractor will be off Dec. 23-Jan. 1. This project has a six-day workweek, so when we get back to work on Jan. 2 we'll be back to working on Saturdays as well.

Wurzbach Parkway
Expect activity between Blanco Road and West Avenue Monday, and perhaps Tuesday morning as well. We are planning to open the Parkway between Blanco and West Avenue Monday. We don't anticipate a ton of activity on the eastern segment those dates, but we do anticipate heavy activity on the center segment every day except Dec. 24-26 and Jan. 1. The east and west ends will be quiet Dec. 24-Jan. 5.

Again: there will be no lane closures for active construction over the next week as we accommodate heavy Christmas traffic. Call it our gift to each of you!

Enjoy your time with your families next week, and please consider giving the gift of a sober ride this Christmas. Heck, it's a pretty easy stocking stuffer, if you're still looking for something! It never costs anything to be a designated driver or a designated texter for your friends and family, after all!

Thursday, December 19

Next week's construction-related lane closures

*Next week we actually will not have any construction-related closures. Our folks and our construction partners will be busily celebrating Christmas or otherwise spending time with family.

While some work will be happening on a handful of projects Monday, Tuesday or Friday next week, none of that work will interrupt traffic lanes.

We look forward to returning to work in full swing January 2. At any rate, here are the upcoming closures:

Interstate 10
Thursday-Friday, December 19-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Eastbound main lanes between Huebner Road and I-410 (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews test pavement. Expect delays.

Thursday-Friday, December 19-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Westbound main lanes between I-410 and Ramsgate (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews test pavement. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, January 6-10
9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily
Frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close in each direction while crews excavate and demolish walls. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, January 6-10
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Main lanes between Huebner Road and Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio)
The right lanes will close in each direction to allow crews to demolish a wall and excavate dirt.

Monday-Friday, January 6-10
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close in each direction while crews excavate and demolish walls. Expect delays.

Interstate 35
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 37
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.

Loop 1604
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 90
Thursday-Friday, November 19-20
7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
Eastbound main lanes at the Guadalupe River (Seguin)
Eastbound lanes will close while crews pour concrete from the U.S. Highway 90 bridge over the Guadalupe. Traffic will be shifted onto the westbound lanes, limiting traffic in each direction to a single lane. Expect long delays.

U.S. Highway 281
No closures scheduled.

Other roads
Thursday-Saturday, January 1-4
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Northbound Fredericksburg Road between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center)
The right lane will close while crews tie in water lines.

All planned lane closures are pending weather.

First turnaround at FM 3009 to open Friday (and other I-35 Selma stuff)

A small tree that's hanging into the road on the westbound Loop 1604 access road between Pat Booker Road and I-35 will be removed by the end of the week to address a safety issue.

But that's not the biggest news on the I-35 Selma project; that distinction belongs to the FM 3009 intersection.

FM 3009

The north-to-south turnaround will open Friday, December 20 - four days before Dan Williams Company project superintendent George Mayfield promised. George says project manager Freddy Cole is the hero for the work; Freddy has been on-site with the crews, pushing for maximum productivity every moment crews were on site.

Over the last week the medians and pedestrian ramps were formed and poured, with work finishing up Thursday. The barriers were moved Tuesday and Wednesday, replaced by barrels. The final surface of asphalt was laid yesterday, and Thursday painters marked the roadway stripes.

The turnaround - and the lanes over FM 3009 - will be opened up in time for the Friday evening commute. This should be particularly good news to the folks at the city of Schertz....

While concrete crews have begun working on the south-to-north turnaround over the last few days, the heavy work on that turnaround will begin after New Year's. That turnaround should be open by the end of the first quarter next year.

Milestone Two

The second major milestone on the project (the first was the northbound exit ramp to Forum Parkway, finished up by Thanksgiving this year) calls for the contractor to reconstruct the northbound exit ramp to FM 3009. The ramp will gain a lane - making two exit lanes to FM 3009 - and will get some improvements to the drain structures at the site.

That work will require the ramp to be completely closed for the work, forcing traffic headed to FM 3009 to use the Schertz Parkway exit. That, or drivers can use the next available exit and turn around ... whichever suits the driver.

Dan Williams has three weeks to finish that work; that is, from the day they close the ramp, they'll have three weeks to have it reopened for use. When that ramp closes, the entrance ramp from FM 1518 will open. The entrance ramp will remain open for use.

Work on Milestone Two is slated to start in January. An exact date for that closure will be given when it's "set in concrete".

Loop 1604

Through the last week we've been working on resolving the pavement issues on the ramp from Loop 1604 onto northbound I-35, requiring more closures than had been initially scheduled.

To those impacted by those closures, please accept our deepest apologies. Often those closures only lasted a few hours, and were needed to ensure a safe and secure drive.

Rather than patching the road as initially planned, pavers milled out some 10 inches of asphalt and repaved the ramp. Project personnel are confident this should adequately address the issues that had been encountered.

FM 1518

Dan Williams will close the intersection of FM 1518 at I-35 - the roads beneath the I-35 bridge - for a 24-hour period to build all the storm drain features at the intersection. That work will be done on a Sunday - right now supervisors are targeting Jan. 19 or Jan. 26 for that work.

With the intersection closed, cross traffic will need to use the access roads to Schertz Parkway or Evans Road to reach its destination.

Wednesday, December 18

TxDOT lead inspector recognized

Lloyd Mair, the lead inspector for the center segment of Wurzbach Parkway and a 28-year veteran at the Texas Department of Transportation, was recognized this week by his peers for an award given by the Association of General Contractors earlier this year.

The AGC had announced the award in October and recognized Mair at a conference in Austin. Mair wasn’t at that conference, saying his priority was concentrating on the active construction in San Antonio. TxDOT leaders with the Bexar Metro Area office and the district construction office plotted the recognition, knowing Mair wouldn’t go out of his way for accolades.

"This shouldn’t go to an individual,” Mair told those gathered at the weekly progress meeting on Wurzbach Parkway Tuesday. “This was a team effort.”

Those involved with the project, who worked with or around Mair, gathered at the weekly meeting to surprise him with a plaque and some handshakes. The award was presented by TxDOT Director of Construction Gina Gallegos.

“I’ve heard a number of nicknames for Lloyd,” Gallegos said during the presentation. “Now I’m hearing him called ‘Gold Star’. I just heard that this morning – it’s fitting!”

The recognition came for his work on the expansion of Spur 421 – Bandera and Culebra Road, inside I-410 in town – between 2008 and 2011. Williams Brothers Construction was the contractor on that project. Mair is inspecting Williams Brothers’ work on the parkway now. The project superintendent with Williams Brothers was also recognized for his part in the project.

For more information on the Wurzbach Parkway project Mair is currently inspecting, check out the project's regular newsletter here.

Friday, December 13

Next week's construction-related closures

Interstate 10
Monday-Friday, December 16-20
9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily
Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews set barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 16-20
9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily
Westbound frontage road between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close to allow crews to demolish a wall and excavate dirt.
 
Monday-Friday, December 16-20
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews set barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 16-20
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Westbound frontage road between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close to allow crews to demolish a wall and excavate dirt.
 
Wednesday-Friday, December 18-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Westbound main lanes between I-410 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio)
The three right lanes will close while crews do electrical work. Expect delays.
 
Interstate 35
Sunday-Friday, December 15-20
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Northbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and FM 1518 (Live Oak-Selma)
The right lane will close while crews move concrete barrier.

Monday-Friday, December 16-20
8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
Northbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Fisher Road (Medina River)
The left lane will close while crews place concrete bridge deck panels. Expect delays.
 
Wednesday-Thursday, December 18-19
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Main lanes, both directions, between FM 1518 and Olympia Parkway (Selma)
The left lane of each direction will close while crews build foundations for the overhead highway signs. Expect delays.
 
Interstate 37
No closures scheduled.
 
Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.
 
Loop 1604
Monday-Thursday, December 16-19
7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
Southbound main lanes at Marbach Road (west Bexar County)
The right lane will close while crews form and pour curbs and sidewalks. Expect delays.

Wednesday-Thursday, December 18-19
8 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Southbound main lanes at Marbach Road (west Bexar County)
The left two lanes will close while crews pour concrete to make the bridge deck for the Marbach Road overpass. Expect delays.
 
U.S. Highway 90
Thursday-Friday, December 19-20
7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
Eastbound main lanes at the Guadalupe River (Seguin)
Eastbound lanes will close while crews pour concrete from the U.S. Highway 90 bridge over the Guadalupe. Traffic will be shifted onto the westbound lanes, limiting traffic in each direction to a single lane. Expect long delays.
 
U.S. Highway 281
No closures scheduled.
 
Other roads
Monday-Tuesday, December 16-17
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
FM 1516 between FM 1346 and US Hwy 87 (southeast Bexar County)
Alternating lanes will close while crews seal pavement cracks. One-way traffic control will be used. Expect delays.

Monday-Tuesday, December 16-17
7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily
Loop 13 (WW White) between Houston Street and Rigsby Ave (southeast San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews reapir the base of the roadway. One-way traffic control will be used. Expect delays.

Tuesday, December 17
2 p.m. until 10 p.m.
State Highway 173 at the UPRR crossing (Devine)
All lanes of state Highway 173 will close while crews repair the railroad crossing. Traffic will use Transportation Drive, Dilley or Herring avenues and Commercial Drive to reach its destination. Expect delays.

Tuesday-Thursday, December 17-19
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
FM 78 between FM 1516 and Woodlake Blvd (Converse)
Alternating lanes will close while crews seal pavement cracks. One-way traffic control will be used. Expect delays.

Thursday-Friday, December 19-20
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
FM 2538 (Weir/Zuehl/New Berlin roads) between I-10 and the Guadalupe County line (east Bexar County)Alternating lanes will close while crews seal pavement cracks. One-way traffic control will be used. Expect delays.

Thursday-Saturday, January 1-4
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Northbound Fredericksburg Road between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center)
The right lane will close while crews tie in water lines.
 
All planned lane closures are pending weather.

Thursday, December 12

I-35 Selma project: Forum Parkway and FM 3009 update

Forum Parkway area

We'll have an emergency closure of the Loop 1604 ramps onto northbound I-35 to fix the asphalt under the new Forum Parkway exit ramp. Those driving the area will notice this is the second or third time we've had to do this ... and there's a reason for that.

The new ramp from Loop 1604 onto northbound I-35 is driving on asphalt that wasn't previously used; that is, it's been shifted over from its initial location. The old asphalt beneath the new isn't as thick as the asphalt that once held traffic and is breaking up. Every time a patch is in place, the area around that patch begins to break apart.

In an ideal world we'd shut the ramp down and dig everything up, then totally reconstruct the roadway. But that's expensive and wasn't factored into the original plan sheets.

Working with what we've got already out there and in an effort to follow the plans, we've been patching the roadway. Instead of using the smaller patches that have been used out there, Angel Brothers Construction is going to use larger patches - essentially tire-to-tire - to help keep the surface intact. Monday morning they're scheduled to go in again and lay a final surface.

Whatever the technical side of the work is, if you're driving in the area be aware the ramp from Loop 1604 to northbound I-35 will be closed Friday morning and Monday morning - after the morning rush hour - to repair and surface the road.

FM 3009 area

Levy Construction - the electrician on the project - is working to get the lights at FM 3009 burnign by the middle of next week. Those lights are under the overpass, lighting the way for folks using the main lanes of I-35.

Dan Williams Company had concrete crews working on the curbs and sidewalks on the overpass earlier today, with mixing trucks delivering concrete as quickly as crews could get it out.

Paving crews will be ready to pave the turnaround and the intersection area at FM 3009 the middle of next week, if weather allows for it (remember: asphalt requires temperatures near 60 degrees). Three layers of asphalt remain to be placed before we can talk about putting traffic on the turnaround. The first layer is called "Type C", then a seal coat is added. The seal coat keeps the moisture levels in the base of the pavement where the levels need to be, allowing the pavement to get strong. On top of the seal coat is our final surface.

After the final surface is down - also scheduled for mid-week - and the road is striped, we'll be able to move the barriers protecting the workzone, opening up some space on the intersection to move everything into its final configuration.

Dan Williams project managers are working to schedule work to get the intersection marked to allow two left turn lanes in each direction across the FM 3009 overpass. The final configuration of the overpass will have three lanes in each direction: a left-only lane, an optional straight-or-left lane, a thru lane. The approach on the northbound frontage road will have the turnaround, a left-only, an optional straight-or-left, a thru and a right-only lane.

The southbound frontage road approaching the intersection will look the same, but that work will wait until the north-to-south area is finished.

By finishing the north-to-south turnaround, we'll be able to move the barriers along the southbound frontage road coming from FM 3009, allowing for the two lanes to handle the dual-left option coming from Schertz.

All that puts us on pace to have the intersection opened up (except the south-to-north turnaround) in time for Christmas.

I-10 Huebner update

Upper management with Webber Construction checked in this week on progress on the I-10 Huebner project, which has been hampered in part over the last several weeks by difficulties with some of the retaining walls along the project.

As has been written before, the soil nail walls have presented challenges to crews assigned to the project, and have caused larger portions of work to be pushed back a bit.

The visit resulted in project personnel being directed to spur the project along at a faster rate, and to find quick resolutions to the issues with the soil nail wals. Additional work crews are being committed to the project with the new year, affording some more resources to complete work in time for the end-of-2014 deadline.

Here's what all of this means for those driving in the area:

The first major traffic shift at DeZavala Road - a shift initially scheduled to take place as early as October 2013 - will happen early in the first quarter of 2014. Right now Webber is targeting early February, though a precise date has not yet been set. As part of the effort to widen I-10 by a lane in each direction, we're also lifting the DeZavala overpass bridge - which requires us to make the bridge longer as well (something about the geometry of the bridge).

This means we're effectively reconstructing the bridge, one side at a time. All told, the work at that intersection alone will take almost a full year. The eastbound side will get the work first, and traffic will be shifted over to use the current westbound side. We'll have three narrow (11 feet wide) lanes in each direction - which means the auxiliary lanes used by traffic entering and exiting the highway will be done away with.

This pinch point will, do doubt, impact the daily traffic for both morning and evening commuters.

Temperatures cooling work (and other Wurzbach Parkway stuff)

Near-freezing temperatures are delaying pavement scheduled for Jones-Maltsberger and for the western segment of the parkway, causing project managers to find creative solutions to getting work done while waiting on critical asphalt work.

TxDOT specifications require temperatures above 60 degrees to lay asphalt. That temperature is not a problem for most of the year in this part of Texas, but with the winter norther blowing through the area work across the area is slowing.

Millers will be moving across the western portion of the parkway this week, preparing the road for a final surface of asphalt. Paving crews are tentatively scheduled to move in next week – Monday – if temperatures have risen enough to get the work done.

On Jones-Maltsberger, the subgrade and base is built; project managers are waiting for paving crews to come through to finish the future southbound lanes of the city street so traffic can be moved to its next phase. That shift – the final shift before traffic is put into its final configuration – will divide northbound and southbound traffic, allowing for a work area between the two directions of traffic.

Temperatures are also impacting the ability to pour concrete, which requires temperatures at least in the 40s before concrete can be poured. Most of the work being held up by inability to pour concrete is on the east side of the project, including the concrete paving blocks near the brush site operated by the city of San Antonio on Old Bitters Road.

For more on the Wurzbach Parkway project, see the latest newsletter here.

Friday, December 6

Next week's construction-related closures

Apologies for the delay - yesterday was too busy to get a post up!

Interstate 10
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily
Eastbound frontage road between UTSA Boulevard and Fredericksburg Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily
Westbound frontage road between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Eastbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Fredericksburg Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Westbound main lanes between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Fredericksburg Road (northwest San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier. Expect delays.
 
Interstate 35
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
South-to-north turnaround from Rife Lane to Benton City Road (southwest Bexar County)
All lanes will close while crews position concrete pouring equipment. Take next exit and turnaround.
 
Monday-Friday, December 9-13
8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
Northbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Fisher Road (southwest Bexar County)
The left lane will close while crews place concrete bridge decks. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Tuesday, December 9-10
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Northbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Forum Parkway (Live Oak-Selma)
The two right lanes will close while crews remove barrier. Expect delays.
 
Tuesday-Wednesday, December 10-11
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Loop 1604 exit to northbound I-35 (Live Oak-Selma)
The exit will close while crews remove barrier. Traffic will use Pat Booker Road and frontage roads to reach its destination. Expect delays.
 
Wednesday-Thursday, December 11-12
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Northbound frontage road between Schertz Parkway and FM 3009 (Selma-Schertz)
The left lane will close while crews remove barrier. This closure includes the northbound exit to FM 3009. Traffic will exit Schertz Parkway to reach its destination. Expect delays.
 
Thursday-Friday, December 12-13
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Northbound main lanes at FM 3009 (Schertz)
The two right lanes will close while crews remove barrier. Expect delays.
 
Interstate 37
No closures scheduled
 
Interstate 410
No closures scheduled
 
Loop 1604
Tuesday-Wednesday, December 10-11
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Loop 1604 exit to northbound I-35 (Selma-Live Oak)
The exit will close while crews remove barrier. Traffic will use Pat Booker Road and frontage roads to reach its destination. Expect delays.
 
U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled
 
U.S. Highway 281
No closures scheduled
 
Other roads
Monday-Tuesday, December 9-10
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
Spur 122 (South Presa) between Southeast Military and U.S. Highway 181 (south San Antonio)
Alternating lanes in each direction will close while crews repair the road. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Saturday, December 9-14
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Eastbound Medical Drive between Ewing Halsell Drive and Fairhaven Street (Medical Center)
The right lane will close while crews tie in water lines. Expect delays.
 
Monday-Saturday, December 9-14
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Southbound Loop 345 (Fredericksburg Road) between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center)
The right lane will close while crews tie in water lines. Expect delays.
 
All planned lane closures are pending weather.

Spring Branch, The Loop, Seguin Ave and other Comal County things

It's been a while since a hearty post was published about all things Comal County, so this post should be a particular treat to those living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country areas north of the metro area....

New project

The best place to begin is with something new, right? Earlier this week we accepted bids on a project at I-35 and Loop 337 (Rueckle Road) to reconfigure the Loop 337 overpass bridge. Hunter Industries of San Marcos submitted the apparent low bid, 10 percent less than the estimate TxDOT engineers came up with.

For more on this, check out the KGNB Web site here. (We'd post more here, but KGNB has all the info we'd have.)

U.S. 281 Comal

Two major items have happened on the U.S. 281 project up in Spring Branch: the southbound lanes have been seperated from the northbound lanes between the Blanco-Comal county line and Blazing Meadows. Second - and, perhaps, most important for motorists to know - is the decrease in speed limit along the project.

The speed limit change is permanent. Except for a small segment near FM 311, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Remember: it's an active construction zone, and Comal County law enforcement officials are enforcing the speed limit. If workers are on the project, the fine is doubled.

That short segment at FM 311 is posted at 50 miles per hour, but it's not a bad idea to drop to 45.

Just for grins, here's a look at the drive from the county line to the Guadalupe River:


Seguin Avenue

This is a project that won't give us much to really talk about (regarding traffic switches, etc.) until sometime this spring. Well, we'll have a traffic switch on Seguin Avenue between Nacogdoches and Faust as we finish the work we're doing on the westbound side of Seguin Avenue and move onto the eastbound side, but that's still a few weeks away.

For now, we're on pace to finish the project on time. The shoofly detour is in place and in use. The old overpass bridge structure has been removed and crews are getting ready to start building the new bridge.

Remember: we need to build two bridges and knock down two bridges. We're building the shoofly bridge, knocking down the old bridge, building a new bridge, then knocking down the shoofly bridge.

We're also building the drain field - really, a detention pond - under the roadway as well. That will help keep the entryway to New Braunfels open through rain events. With the rock walls that will match the original retaining walls along the project (and the nice pedestrian handrails along the road under the UPRR overpass), it will make for a beautiful gateway to the city's downtown.

I-35 Selma

With the work at Forum Parkway done - at least, the bridge work is done - bridge crews and concrete crews are being moved to work on the FM 3009 overpass and turnaround bridges. The goal is to have the north-to-south turnaround open and the overpass at its final configuration by Christmas.

The future

City and county officials have adopted a list of priorities - five prioritized projects, really - to submit to the metropolitan planning organization. Both municipalities are now members of the San Antonio-Bexar County MPO, and most projects with TxDOT and federal funds need approval through the MPO moving forward. (By the way, rumor has it the MPO will be getting a new name.)

Among the prioritized projects submitted by Comal County and New Braunfels is work on Loop 337 between Altgelt and Highway 46, expansion of FM 306 between Hunter Road and River Chase Drive and expansion of Hwy 46 at Bulverde.


November bids accepted

*Each month the routine business – that is, the approval of low-bid awards by the Texas Transportation Commission – will be announced as part of a push to ensure Texans know about each TxDOT construction project in their respective area. The idea here is to make sure every construction project, and not just the major ones, is recognized and accounted for - at least at the project's start.

A word about the bid proces.... Each month bids are accepted over the course of a few days for specific projects that are "let" across the state. The bids are sent to the Texas Transportation Commission, in Austin, to be officially awarded during their montly meeting (held toward the end of the month). By rule, TxDOT awards contracts to the lowest bonded bid - that helps eliminate any shenanigans in the bid process. We don't want Bobby to get all the work because he and Carl are best buds while Bill stands out in the cold, even though Bill might have the right qualifications. We want to be as fair as possible.

The projects described below are at least a few months from starting, and only the projects within the San Antonio District boundaries are described here. At any rate, here's our first of a monthly series announcing project contracts awarded to our contractors:

In an ongoing effort to improve safety and address congestion,the Texas Transportation Commission approved a total of $9.8 million to seal coat two stretches of the state highway system in Frio and in Kendall counties.

Clark Construction of Texas, Inc., submitted an accepted low bid of $4.7 million to seal coat Texas Spur 581 between Farm to Market 1582 and the southbound I-35 frontage road south of Pearsall. That work will take about six months to complete and should begin early spring 2014.

Ronald R. Wagner & Co. submitted an accepted low bid of $5.1 million to seal coat less than a mile of Ranch to Market 473 at FM 1376 in Kendall County. The work will take about eight months to complete and should begin early spring 2014.

“As Texas roadways become increasingly crowded, we must find ways to relieve congestion without compromising safety,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “Keeping travelers moving safely and efficiently will continue to be an ongoing priority as Texas welcomes nearly 1,000 newcomers each day.”

Seal coats, also known as chip seals, are simple and relatively inexpensive pavement surfaces designed to extend the life of a roadway. A seal coat is an application of a layer of asphalt binder covered with a layer of aggregate, or rock chips, atop an existing paved surface. The average life of a seal coat or surface treatment is about six to eight years; however, some have performed successfully for periods of up to 20 years.

These projects typically require lane closures to complete – often a single lane at a time – and, in rural areas, can cause traffic to be limited to a single lane in each direction. Temperature requirements for the asphalt limit work to spring, summer and fall months.

Thursday, December 5

Fred-Med update

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas ahead of us, we're in that awkward three weeks where contractors try to get everything done they can without closing lanes (because we limit that during this time frame) and without running into adverse weather (such as this weekend's promised freeze).

Right now, Texas Sterling Construction is making the most of the time. Over the last several weeks they've pushed hard to make all the gas, water and electric utility adjustments they need to push forward on Phase One. (To recap, Phase One builds the future westbound exit/entrance ramps, or access roads, leading up to and away from Fredericksburg Road.)

Diggers build a pathway for the future westbound access road/exit ramp to Fredericksburg Road while drill rigs and excavators work at the footings for drain boxes and retaining walls.
 With those utilities out of the way, excavation crews are moving forward quickly on building storm sewer lines and foundations for retaining walls. This means drivers in the area will likely see a lot of drilling and digging, and we'll have some trucks entering or leaving the roadway as dirt is hauled away. The overwhelming majority of this work is done behind barriers that are already set, so lane closures are not likely. Some smaller closures may be used overnight, but don't expect much of an impact to your daily commute.

The biggest traffic disruption brought by this project is the closure of Fredericksburg Road for two weeks while the bridge structure is built. That two-week time frame is still on target for late 2014.
A look at the intersection of Fredericksburg and Medical, from just down the hill on Medical Drive. When the project is finished, Medical Drive will have four lanes (two in each direction) passing underneath Fredericksburg Road.

I-35 Selma project priority: FM 3009

With the Forum Parkway exit ramps opened, bridge-building crews and concrete crews are being moved to the intersection of FM 3009 with the intent of having the north-to-south turnaround opened before Christmas.

With the turnaround, we hope to open up the intersection - including the overpass over I-35 - to it's final configuration. That means three lanes in both directions on FM 3009: One is a left-only lane; one is an "optional lane, or a lane that allows drivers to go straight or turn left; and a through lane. We're hoping to have all that ready in time for Santa to use to enjoy the milk and cookies left out for him by the good folks of the Schertz-Garden Ridge area.

Earlier this week, bridge crews were forming and pouring the concrete barriers not yet finished on the turnaround bridge. Other crews were cleaning up debris through the area. We still have some concrete work to finish - including the sidewalks and sloped ramps on the sidewalks - before we can move some of the barricades out of the way and lay down asphalt.

We've also got signs and pavement stripes to set.

Here's the kicker: asphalt requires fairly warm (for this time of year) temperatures. And with the current forecast, that warm temperature is going to be tough to find. Concrete requires temperatures above 40 degrees. Asphalt requires temps in the 60s ... so we're hoping by time the cold front blows out next week we can really get this going.

There a few other boring details ... but those are all engineery things. The bottom line: weather permitting, we'll have the north-to-south turnaround and the lanes over I-35 opened up before Grandma and Grandpa visit for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 4

Next shift on J-M could be January

With the utility lines moved out of the way along Jones-Maltsberger, paving crews have been scheduled to lay 1,000 tons of asphalt along the future southbound lanes later this week and the next major traffic shift on Jones-Maltsberger is targeted for early 2014.

Project supervisors were hoping to beat the cold weather forecasted for the end of the week. The asphalt will make up the base layers of pavement. Top layers will be laid later this month as the cooler weather blows out of town.

With the new roadway lanes in place, Texas Sterling Construction hopes to move traffic before Christmas. The switch will separate traffic by putting southbound traffic onto its outside lane. Crews still need to build a drain inlet in the median.

Weather has a lot of impact on the proposed timeline for this work. Specifications for work require certain temperature levels – usually somewhere around 40 degrees or more – for asphalt to be laid. Cold snaps can delay paving operations.

With warm temperatures on tap mid-week this week, trucks will roll through the area in the morning and pavers will lay the asphalt through the day. Texas Sterling folks say they hope to be finished with the paving work before the end of the work day.

Read more updates like this on the Wurzbach Parkway projest online here.
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