Search This Blog

Thursday, January 31

I-35 in full swing

According to the Texas Transportation Institute, it's the busiest segment of state-maintained highway in the San Antonio area.

That's why we're hard at work to provide some solutions. Those who are part of the 180,000-plus drivers who drive this area each day have watched as the project has progressed. Many of those have sent emails or made phone calls to ask about the project's progress. With that in mind, here's what's happening out there as of this week:
  • Work on the north-bound I-35 exit to Forum Parkway has begun. For the first week or so, most of the work will involve preparing the work space and getting everything set up so the crews can safely work each day. Within the next three weeks you should start seeing machines out there to break apart old infrastructure that's being modified or rebuilt to fit the new braided ramp.
  • The adjustments of the exit and entrance ramps between FM 1518 and Schertz Parkway will continue. This has been half of the focus for road-building crews to this point, and will remain a priority. Job bosses hope to have the ramps re-opened by early spring, freeing up resources being used on these ramps in time to hit the Forum Parkway exit ramp in time for the most intensive work to be done there.
  • Construction of turnaround bridges at FM 3009 is about 30 percent complete. Bridge crews are almost finished building the abutments, or shelves intended to hold the ends of the support beams that will bridge the interstate. Work on support columns in the median is set to begin in earnest moving forward.
While the mainlanes remain, for the most part, unhindered by the construction, drivers should still expect slight delays as motorists slow down to remain safe in the work zone.

Just two things to point out, by way of emphasis: First, the Forum Parkway exit ramp is a milestone, and the work there is being timed. Road crews have about six months to get it done - which is part of why the ramp is a priority for job bosses. Second, this project is due to be substantially completed (meaning all features carrying traffic will be open for use) by Christmas 2013. In the grand scheme of things, this means the project is pretty darned fast.

For more information on the project, you check out the TxDOT-maintained project page.

Wednesday, January 30

First-ever traffic signal

Yesterday we announced, formally, the activation of new traffic signals on state Highway 16 in Tilden.

Not until Tim Delaney, editor of The Progress in Three Rivers, pointed out these are the first full-blown signals in McMullen County did the significance of the announcement really sink in. With this in mind, we took a drive to Tilden to see these new signals first-hand and celebrate the hard work by the TxDOT crews who built them.

Prior to these two signals, flashing traffic beacons were used to caution traffic of the intersections. TxDOT does not consider these flashing beacons to be traffic-controlling signals.

This signal, at the corner of SH 16 and SH72S in Tilden, was activated last week and features the first electronic pedestrian signals in the county.


Since 2008, just five crashes have been recorded at the south intersection, or the intersection at "downtown" Tilden. Only a few more have occurred at the north intersection - host to the area's local "truck stop". None of those crashes have been fatal.

This low number of crashes is to expected when the county population of just 700 is considered. However, this project was still motivated by safety.


This SH 16-SH 72N signal, viewed from the McMullen County Community Center, was activated late 2012 - and is the first full traffic signal in McMullen County
The fact is most of the traffic at these intersections - more than half, if the half-hour of personal observation earlier today is any indication - is truck traffic related to the Eagle Ford Shale boom. While crash counts are already low, we want to keep things that way.

Call it an appropriate desire to maintain the status quo.

And that's why this one-horse town was elevated to an official stop on the map. That's why Tilden is home to McMullen County's very first full traffic signals - to continue a record of safety that may very well be unmatched by any other county seat in the great state of Texas.

Tuesday, January 29

New traffic signal active in Tilden

TILDEN, Texas — Last week the Texas Department of Transportation activated an upgraded traffic signal at the intersection of state Highway 16 and state Highway 72 in Tilden, replacing flashing beacons with complete traffic signals.

The $131,371 upgrade includes mast arm-mounted signals controlled by radar that will regulate traffic flow – including traffic in the left-turn lanes. Pedestrian signals have been built to help safe crossing of the roadway. TxDOT will maintain the signal.

“These new traffic signals will greatly enhance the safety of this downtown area,” TxDOT spokesman Josh Donat said. “This intersection is the hub of activity in Tilden, and we want to ensure everyone traveling here – by vehicle or on foot – can do so safely and comfortably. We think this intersection will do just that.”

The signals were activated Thursday, Jan. 24, after a week of the change being posted at the intersection itself. In October the intersection of SH 16 and SH 72 West – located a little more than a half-mile north of the downtown Tilden intersection – was also upgraded to a full signal. That upgrade cost $113,949.

Monday, January 28

REMINDER: Forum Parkway exit closing Tuesday night

In case you've forgotten, the north-bound I-35 exit to Forum Parkway (just a stone's throw north of Loop 1604 at northeast San Antonio) will close for six months beginning Tuesday night. Check out the earlier post for more details on what we're doing.

To give you a look at the detour route(s) available, check out these two videos:


This one shows the actual closure, and looks at the detour using Olympia Parkway....

This one goes through the Pat Booker Road detour - the preferred route for those headed to The Forum to do their shopping or to work....


That's it! If you have any questions, let us know!

Friday, January 25

Lane closures next week....

Here's a look at lane closures posted for the next week. Note that all closures are weather pending. That means if we get some weather issues, these closures may change. Also, see our interactive map of closures, updated weekly.

Interstate 10
Monday-Friday, January 28-February 1
9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
East-bound I-10 between Foster Road and Loop 1604 (east San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews install guardrails and rumble strips. Expect delays.

Interstate 35
Tuesday-Wednesday, January 29-30
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
North-bound I-35 at the Loop 1604 exit
The right lane will be closed while crews install traffic barrier and restripe roadway lanes for scheduled work on the Forum Parkway exit ramp. This closure includes the exit ramp to Loop 1604 – both directions – and to Forum Parkway. The ramp from Loop 1604 to north-bound I-35 will also be closed. Traffic will be detoured onto Pat Booker Road to reach Loop 1604. Traffic leaving Loop 1604 for north-bound I-35 should exit Pat Booker Road and use the Loop 1604 frontage road. The Forum Parkway exit ramp from north-bound I-35 will remain closed for six months. Please use Olympia Parkway or Pat Booker Road as alternate routes.

Wednesday-Thursday, January 30-31
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
I-35 at Farm to Market 3009
The left lane of both directions of I-35 will be closed while crews install barrier to create a safe work space for construction of the FM 3009 turnaround bridges. Expect delays.

Interstate 37
No lane closures scheduled.

Interstate 410
Sunday-Friday, January 27-February 1
9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly
I-410 frontage roads between U.S. Highway 281 and San Pedro
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed while crews restripe the roadway lanes. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, January 28-February 1
8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
I-410 between I-37 and state Highway 16
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews repair the shoulder areas and bridge joints. Expect delays.

Thursday, January 24
9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
West-bound I-410 frontage road between Blanco Road and San Pedro
The number two lane (second from the right) will be closed while crews repair a roadway safety feature. Expect delays.

Loop 1604
Sunday-Friday, January 27-February 1
8 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly
Loop 1604 between Morin Road and Farm-to-Market 1937
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed while crews restripe the roadway lanes. Expect delays.

Loop 1604 between state Highway 16 and I-10
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed while crews restripe the roadway lanes. Expect delays.

U.S. Highway 90
No lane closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
No lane closures scheduled.

Farm-to-Market roads
Sunday-Friday, January 27-February 1
9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly
Farm to Market 1518 between Farm to Market 78 and I-10
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed while crews restripe the roadway lanes. Expect delays.

All planned lane closures are pending weather. Road conditions and traffic updates available on Facebook, www.facebook.com/txdot and Twitter, www.twitter.com/txdotsanantonio
.

Thursday, January 24

North-bound Forum Parkway exit to close for six months

NOTE: After visiting with the contractor today, the closure start date has been changed until TUESDAY NIGHT. This gives the contractor a chance to find an extra few inches of work space.


SAN ANTONIO — The north-bound exit from Interstate 35 to Forum Parkway in the Live Oak-Selma area will close Tuesday night for six months while road builders contracted by the Texas Department of Transportation build a new braided-style ramp in its place.
This closure was previously announced for Sunday night. Road-building crews have pushed the closure back to allow extra time to lay out the work area and make sure they have enough space to work within.
A braided-style ramp runs traffic from one direction over traffic from another, separating competing streams of traffic. In this case, traffic to Forum Parkway will be bridged over traffic entering north-bound I-35 from Loop 1604. The design is intended to maintain safety on an increasingly utilized ramp system while addressing congestion.
“The end result will benefit drivers in the area and the businesses they are trying to reach,” said TxDOT spokesman Josh Donat. “When we’re finished we’ll have a safer, more reliable route for traffic heading in both directions – to Forum Parkway as well as to I-35. In the meantime, drivers should be aware of the ramp closure and look for alternate routes.”
Traffic headed to Forum Parkway may use the Olympia Parkway exit, cross over I-35 and approach Forum Parkway from the south as a detour. Another viable route involves exiting I-35 at Pat Booker and taking the turnaround under Loop 1604. More than a half-dozen entry points to The Forum line the west-bound frontage road of Loop 1604.
“We’ve worked closely with the property managers at The Forum,” Donat said. “We all feel the Pat Booker route is the preferred detour.”
Traffic accessing Forum Parkway from south-bound I-35 will not be affected. Traffic entering north-bound I-35 from Loop 1604 will not be affected, either.
The work is part of a year-long effort to address congestion and maintain the safety of one of the busiest highway corridors in the San Antonio metropolitan area. Crews are currently working on reconfigurations of exit and entrance ramps between Shertz Parkway and Farm to Market 1518. For more information on the project, visit www.txdot.gov and search keyword “I-35 Selma”.
For more information, contact TxDOT Public Information Officer Josh Donat at josh.donat@txdot.gov or (210) 615-5932.


###

Tuesday, January 22

Parkway Progress

There's a lot I could write about what's going on at the Wurzbach Parkway project ... but I won't. Instead, I'll direct you to our online newsletter. Well, it's a PDF that's been posted online. Should even have about a six- or eight-week archive on there. Enjoy.

(Newest newsletter may not be live on the site until Wednesday morning... Just FYI....)

Friday, January 18

Lane closures scheduled

Below you'll find lane closures expected due to construction work. This does not include ongoing lane closures - like the exit and entrance ramp closures along I-35 between Schertz Parkway and FM 1518 - but closures that are expected to begin within the next week.

REMEMBER THESE ARE PENDING WEATHER! If weather is adverse, these closures may be delayed.

Find the closures listed chronologically by highway designation - this is the format we'll use each week as we try and keep you posted on what to expect on our roadways.

If you'd like to see an interactive map with these lane closures, visit www.drivetexas.org - it's even optimized for use with a mobile device, if you want to try that. Also, keep in mind work on the Loop 1604-U.S. Hwy 281 interchange is being managed by the Alamo RMA, and information on closures related to that project are found at www.alamorma.org. And, just because we love sending announcements out, we'll try to publish any last-minute closures on our Twitter feed, www.twitter.com/txdotsanantonio.

Interstate 10
Saturday-Sunday, January 19-20
7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily
East-bound I-10 between Foster Road and Loop 1604
The right lane will close while crews replace the road surface. No entrance or exit ramps are affected by this closure.

Monday-Thursday, January 21-24
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
East-bound I-10 between Foster Road and Loop 1604
Alternating exit and entrance ramps will close while crews replace the road surface. Traffic will be detoured to the next available ramp and will turn around as needed. Expect delays.

Interstate 35
Sunday-Thursday, January 20-24
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
I-35 frontage roads between Tilden Street and Loop 1604
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews place pavement markings.

Wednesday-Thursday, January 23-24
10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
South-bound I-35 at Cibolo Creek
The two left lanes will be closed while crews repair a pothole in the road. Expect delays.

Interstate 37
No lane closures posted.

Interstate 410
Sunday-Monday, January 20-21
10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
North-bound I-410 between I-10 and Farm to Market 78 (Kirby area)
Alternating lanes will close while crews replace overhead highway signs. This closure includes the exit ramp from I-410 to I-10. Traffic will exit the next available ramp and use turnaround.


Monday-Friday, January 21-25
8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
I-410 between I-37 and state Highway 16 (south San Antonio)
Alternating lanes will close while crews repair bridge joints and roadway shoulders. This closure may include exit or entrance ramps. Traffic will use the next available ramp.

Loop 1604
Sunday-Thursday, January 20-24
8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Loop 1604 between Morin Road and Farm to Market 1937 (south Bexar County)
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews place pavement markings.

U.S. Highway 90
No lane closures posted.

U.S. Highway 281
No lane closures posted.

Farm-to-Market roads
Wednesday-Thursday, January 23-24
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Farm to Market 1518 at I-35 overpass
All lanes will close while crews lay storm drain pipe across the road. Traffic from FM 1518 will be detoured to Schertz Parkway. Traffic from Corporate Drive will be detoured to Evans Road. Expect delays.

Thursday, January 17

Main Street Boerne

If you're planning on driving through downtown Boerne late this evening, you'll need to find an alternate route to get over Cibolo Creek on Main Street.

In order for crews to set concrete barriers that will allow them to safely work on a project that will widen the bridge by some 20 feet over the next 8 months, we need to close the bridge on U.S. Highway 87, also called Main Street. Crews will begin closing the road at 9 p.m. and have things opened up again by 5 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Crews will also have alternating lanes closed between East Blanco to Highland while they set up their various work stations. Drivers who wish to avoid the activity altogether may get around the mess using the traditional "parade detour". If you don't happen to be a local, here's a look:


So, if you're heading north on Main Street, you'll take a right onto River Road (Highway 46) and then take a left on Esser, then a left on RM 474 at Boerne High School. You'll end up right back on Main Street. If you're headed south, you'll need to take a right onto San Antonio Avenue, a left onto South School Street and another left on West Hosack Road. That should get you where you need to go.

Truthfully, most of those driving these routes should be locals. The bridge won't be closed until late this evening, and it will be open well before the morning commute begins.

Just be aware, and know for the next eight months you'll be seeing construction activity at the bridge. These closures won't be frequent, but when they do happen we'll do our best to let you know about them.

Wednesday, January 16

Parkway Progressing to U.S. 281

Project managers on the segment of Wurzbach Parkway between West Avenue and Jones-Maltsberger have confirmed they plan to begin work by the start of February on improvements along U.S. Highway 281 designed to connect the highway with the new parkway.

In order to properly connect the parkway with the busy highway, our crews will move some of the exit and entrance ramps, add a turnaround at Nakoma Drive and build exit and entrance ramps from the parkway to the frontage roads of U.S. Highway 281. The work will require occasional lane closures - mostly at night - and, during some phases, narrower main lanes.

Work is set to start on north-bound Highway 281 first. Crews will move the Bitters Road exit back - it will be the new Wurzbach Parkway exit - and build a new exit ramp for Bitters Road about a quarter-mile north. The entrance ramp from Nakoma will be adjusted to the north a bit and built as a "braided ramp" in tandem with the new Bitters exit.
Clear as mud yet? Hopefully the picture helps a bit - yellow areas are being torn down, pink is new roadway, purple areas mark bridges. Blue areas are just areas where the pavement will be widened.

What does all this mean for you as a driver? Two things: First, we're getting that much closer to finishing this project! The parkway is expected to be finished (the segment between West Avenue and Jones-Maltsberger is the final segment) by the start of 2015. Second, you'll likely see lane closures begin to alter your daily commute. Most of the closures really won't be that invasive - we're going to keep the big stuff to night-time lane closures.

Those lane closures will be posted right here as they crop up. You'll also see them on Twitter, posted online and announced to the media. So perk up your ears - digital or otherwise - and please be safe!

Monday, January 14

New Year, New Media

Davey Crockett, defender of the Alamo, famously said, "Find out what's right, then go ahead!"

While he was speaking about social issues and politics, we find this rule of thumb goes well with transportation - from navigating routes to building up roadways. That's the point of this blog - to keep folks informed about ongoing construction projects, upcoming projects, solutions to help address congestion and more.

Most of this content will address specific construction projects. Information on each project will be posted as information is available - typically following project update meetings held between project supervisors and TxDOT engineers. Those following the blog may expect posts on a routine basis - daily, whenever possible - and see updated information on projects they're most interested in each week.

This whole effort is new to us in San Antonio. Over the last year and a half we've been working on new media options to get information out about what we do on a day-to-day basis. This has included an electronic newsletter about the Wurzbach Parkway project, weekly email announcements of lane closures for major projects, Twitter updates and project Web pages for any big projects. These Web pages have been updated regularly - and for that the hard-working Web development crew up in Austin deserves high accolades. Those folks - Carlos Gieseken, Shawn Lloyd and, until she moved along a few months ago, AbbyGail Tomlinson - have made the jobs of those of us in local offices so much easier.

This blog is not intended to replace these mediums, but to supplement them. Most of the big information - like the scope of work and the total project cost, project renderings and more - will remain on the project Web pages. Newsletters already in use will continue until the projects for which they're published are finished. Lane closure reports will continue.

But for an idea about what we've got going on from day to day, week to week ... well, this will be your place! We'll have occasional photos, videos, Q-and-A responses.

Spread the word - tell your friends and click "subscribe". We'll keep you informed so you can let your friends, neighbors and family know what's going on as well.
There was an error in this gadget