Friday, May 24

Next week's scheduled construction road closures....

Interstate 10
Tuesday-Friday, May 28-31
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes between Wurzbach Road and UTSA Boulevard
The two inside lanes will be closed while crews work on the center median barrier.

Tuesday-Friday, May 28-31
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
East-bound main lanes between UTSA Boulevard and Wurzbach Road
The two inside lanes will be closed while crews work on the center median barrier.

Interstate 35
Tuesday, May 28
8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
South-bound frontage road between Whirlwind Drive and I-410
The right lane will be closed while crews resurface the road. This closure includes the exit ramp from south-bound I-35 frontage road to west-bound I-410 frontage road. Traffic will continue to Fratt Road, turn right, and turn right again at Interchange Parkway to reach the I-410 frontage road.

Interstate 37
Tuesday-Friday, May 28-31
6 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
South-bound main lanes between mile markers 130 and 102
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews resurface the roadway. Expect long delays.

Interstate 410
Wednesday-Thursday, May 29-30
8 a.m. until 6 p.m daily
West-bound frontage road between I-35 and Perrin Beitel
Alternating lanes will close while crews resurface the road.

Loop 1604
Wednesday-Saturday, May 29-June 1
9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes at Vance Jackson (northwest San Antonio)
The right lane will be closed while crews pour concrete to form the bridge deck for the future Vance Jackson crossover bridge.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
No closures scheduled.

Other roads
Monday-Friday, May 27-31
9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
North-bound 211 between U.S. Hwy 90 and Potranco Road
One-way traffic control, controlled by a flagger, will be used while crews resurface the road. Expect long delays.

Wednesday, May 22

Prepping for the next big change on I-10 Huebner

The next major milestone on the I-10 Huebner project is the repair of the east-bound bridge over the Fredericksburg Road connector.

Between Huebner Road and DeZavala, Fredericksburg Road (Loop 345) connects to I-10. The north-bound lanes of Fredericksburg Road run under I-10 to connect with the west-bound access road. This bridge on I-10 is where the work will be done. Work will begin the night of June 7.

Work on the east-bound bridge deck over the north-bound Fredericksburg Road connector is set to start the night of June 7.
The work on the Fredericksburg Road overpass requires a few different closures, and a rather unique detour plan....
  • The right lane of the I-10 main lanes will be closed
  • The north-bound Fredericksburg Road connector (to west-bound I-10 frontage road) will be closed
  • The left two main lanes of I-10 will be shifted and squeezed
  • The right lane of the I-10 main lanes will take the Huebner Road exit and re-enter the main lanes before reaching Huebner
  • East-bound traffic to USAA will not be able to use the Frontage Road exit; east-bound USAA traffic will need to take the Huebner Road exit to reach their destinations
  • North-bound Fredericksburg Road traffic will get onto the east-bound frontage road of I-10, then take the turnaround at Huebner Road to reach the east-bound frontage road of I-10
If that doesn't make total sense, take a look:

A look at all the changes that will envelop the segment of I-10 between DeZavala and Huebner Roads.
 Once the bridge deck on the right side is repaired, we'll switch over and start working on the left side. The two active lanes on the bridge deck will be moved over accordingly. Everything else will stay the same.

We expect this work to take the duration of the summer. In fact, that's why we're starting June 7 - in order to capitalize on the lighter traffic flow we see when school is out (June 6 is the last day of school for Northside Independent School District...).

To prepare for this work (and some work on the concrete median barrier running through the same area), crews have started to move construction barrier from the UTSA area - where we're pretty much finished working on the center median barrier - to the Fredericksburg Road overpass. We're doing this work at night this week, using some overnight lane closures to get things done.

When June 7 comes, we'll spend the first night setting up the closure, and a bridge demolition crew will immediately begin wrecking out the area we're replacing. Once the wrecking crew finishes - they'll be working all weekend - bridge builders will move in and do their thing as well.

The whole process will take about 70 days, starting June 7. Daily drivers in the area may wish to look for alternate routes this summer.

Friday, May 17

Next week's construction-related closures....

Interstate 10
Saturday, May 18
5 a.m. until 4 p.m.
East-bound entrance ramp between Huebner Road and USAA
The east-bound entrance ramp between Huebner Road and USAA will be closed while crews work on the TransGuide system. Traffic will continue along the frontage road and enter the highway before reaching Wurzbach Road.

Monday, May 20
9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
East-bound main lanes between Trainer Hale Road and Cibolo Creek
The left lane will be closed while crews do remediation work. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, May 20-24
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Both directions between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road
The left lane will be closed while crews build the concrete median barrier. Expect delays.

Interstate 35
Monday-Wednesday, May 20-22
8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily
South-bound frontage road between Whirlwind Drive and I-410
The exit ramp from south-bound I-35 to west-bound I-410 will be closed while crews resurface the roadway. Traffic will use the Walzem Road turnaround and access I-410 from the north-bound I-35 frontage road.

Monday-Wednesday, May 20-22
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Both directions at FM 3009
Two left lanes will be closed in each direction while crews remove work-zone traffic barrier from the center median. I-35 will be limited to a single lane in each direction. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, May 20-24
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
South-bound frontage road turnaround at Medina River
The inside left lane will be closed for a construction project on the Medina River bridge.

Thursday-Friday, May 23-24
11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Both directions at FM 3009
All lanes of I-35 will be closed while crews pour concrete for the FM 3009 turnaround bridge deck. Traffic will exit FM 3009 and move through the intersection before re-entering the highway. This is a total closure. Expect long delays.

Interstate 37
Sunday-Friday, May 19-24
6 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
South-bound main lanes between mile markers 130 and 102
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews recycle the asphalt in place, resurfacing the road. Expect long delays.

Interstate 410
Monday-Wednesday, May 20-22
9 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily
East-bound frontage road between I-35 and Perrin Beitel
The turn-around ramp bridge to the west-bound I-410 frontage road will be closed. Traffic will turn right onto Interchange Parkway to Fratt Road and turn left onto the frontage road.

Loop 1604
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
See for weekend closures.

Other roads
Tuesday-Thursday, May 21-23
9 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily
West-bound Grissom Road (FM 471) between Old Grissom Road and Tezel Road
The right lane will be closed while crews resurface the roadway. Expect delays.

FM 3009 turnaround bridges taking shape

Last night a total closure of I-35 at FM 3009 allowed crews to safely and quickly pour concrete to form the FM 3009 turnaround bridges.

The result: one bridge totally poured. Up next: the other bridge. 
The south-to-north turnaround bridge deck was poured last night. We'll pour the north-to-south bridge next week. Crews hope to have the bridges complete by mid-summer and in use by late summer.

Building a bridge is actually a kind of interesting process....

Once the support structures on the ground are in - that includes columns and abutments (abutments are like concrete shelves built atop a retaining wall on the far ends of the bridge) - a special crew (the guys are called "rod busters") goes in to bend the steel for the column "caps".

Column caps are shaped like an upside-down "T" when seen from the side, and serve as shelves the same way an abutment does. The steel cage built by the rod busters is set up on the top of the columns (that's why they're called "caps") and form panels are put in place around the cage. Concrete crews then fill the panels with concrete, and the caps are allowed to dry and cure.
A look (from foreground) at the back of an abutment, then a finished column cap, and a column cap with forms (center of I-35), another column cap and an abutment. These support structures will form the north-to-south turnaround bridge at FM 3009.
Once the caps are sound, beams creating the bridge span are placed. The ends of the beams rest on the shelves of the abutment and the cap, and several beams are placed a specific distance apart from one another. These beams are sometimes spaced with pieces of wood, which will be removed later. Because these beams need to be placed by cranes - which need to set up in the roadway over which the beams are being set - and because the work is happening over the roadway, we shut the roadway down. It's the only way to ensure total safety. After all, we don't want a beam being dropped on top of a car as it's passing through! (Beams are not dropped often ... but when they are, it's really scary for everyone around.)
With the beams in place, crews then set deck panels. These are pre-cast concrete panels that make up the skeleton of the bridge deck. These are typically set with crane and, since we're dangling heavy concrete over a road, we like to shut down lanes to do this. Bridge crews also build bridge forms to contain concrete that will form the total body of the bridge deck.
After beams are set - done at night with careful lane closures - the pre-cast concrete deck panels are placed. This is also done at night. The panels form a sort of skeleton for the bridge.
Finally, we pour the deck. This is the step we're on right now! After each deck is poured, we cover it with concrete and wait a number of days as prescribed by engineers that know what's going on with that sort of thing to allow the concrete to harden and cure. Once that's in place and OK, we form the barriers (we don't want anyone driving off the bridge, you know!) on either side and pour them. There are some finish items - like posting appropriate signs, making sure the surface is right, painting lane lines, etc. - and then the bridge is done!
Forms are set and the north-to-south bridge is nearly ready for concrete. All lanes of I-35 will be shut down next Thursday while crews pour the bridge deck.
In our case, we won't be ready to open the bridge as soon as the structure is in and complete. We're adding some lanes to the frontage roads - dedicated turnaround lanes - to guide traffic into the bridges. Building those lanes will take some time and will need to wait until the bridges are almost completed, as we're using the area of the new roadway lanes to access the project with heavier equipment and to store materials. That means we're hoping to have the bridges open for use late the summer, though the bridge structures may be built much sooner.
Though the picture is a few months old, the area that will become the dedicated turnaround lane can be clearly seen to the left of the existing pavement. This lane will be built after the bridge decks are complete.
For now ... expect one more total closure of I-35 at FM 3009 next Thursday night. We'll shut down a few lanes at 9 p.m. and have the whole highway closed by 11 p.m. We'll reopen the highway at 5 a.m. While the highway is closed, traffic will exit FM 3009 and go through the intersection before reentering the main lanes.

Also, expect to see some closures Monday and Tuesday nights next week as we tear down our work zone in the center median at FM 3009. Those won't be total closures, but we'll have I-35 necked down to a single lane in each direction ... and that will mean some pretty heavy delays.

Thursday, May 16

All the latest on Comal County projects....

Over the last two weeks we've seen quite a bit of change on FM 306 near Historic Gruene, we've held an informal open house on the U.S. 281 Comal project through Spring Branch and we've pushed forward in a Seguin Avenue project near downtown New Braunfels. To make sure we can all keep things straight, here's a quick run-down of what's happening:

Seguin Avenue

Austin Bridge Company continues its work to widen Seguin Avenue under the UPRR railroad overpass, spending most of the efforts firming up the behind-the-scenes structure for the new retaining wall. We're actually keeping the old retaining wall materials due to the historic value of the stone and the aesthetic match to the area's ambiance. (Yes, we do try and make roads not only functional, but attractive!)

The historic stone used as a retaining wall for this crossing for several years is being kept, and will be used as a facade on the new retaining wall being built by crews now.
Our guys have also been drilling holes for support shafts that will hold up the new overpass structure. Remember: we'll be shutting down Seguin Avenue at this overpass on or around September 9, and the road will remain closed for about six months. That will allow us to build the new overpass without delays.

Between now and then, expect no lane closures through the summer - we want to keep that route to the tubes free and clear!

US 281 Comal

First of all, thank you to Comal County Commissioner Jan Kennady for hosting an awesome open house at the Bulverde-Spring Branch Library last week. We met Thursday evening with nearly 100 folks from the area and discussed issues such as project funding, intersection locations and other questions brought up by the crowd.

Surprisingly, the biggest question was something we don't have an answer for: where will the Post Office be relocated to? Commissioner Kennady is working on finding an answer, and will notify folks when an answer is found.

In the meantime, check the project Web page Friday for an aerial view of what the project will look like.
As for funding ... we're using non-tolled traditional resources. Comal County has kicked in a large chunk of money to make sure this project was able to happen. These lanes will be non-tolled, free roadway lanes.

FM 306

The easy update on this is the Canyon Lake passing-lane job: Hunter Industries is pretty much done with all the underground work, and we're moving to the phases of building the subgrade to pave the new highway lanes out there. We've actually finished - totally - some of the passing lanes on the east end of the project and only need to stripe them appropriately. That's on deck. The important thing to know is we're on target to finish that work by the end of summer as scheduled.
The roadway expansion is finished, but crews still need to re-stripe the lanes to include the new passing lanes on FM 306 west of Purgatory Road.
The tougher update is the expansion project near Gruene....

Over the last two weeks we've seen massive traffic delays during work to pave new roadway lanes as we prepared for the major traffic shift that took place late last week. This week - the first full week with the new traffic alignment - we experienced some growing pains as the project area got stabilized for the work that's set to take much of the remainder of 2013. Between making the traffic changes this week and moving equipment around, plus having a milling machine to tear up pavement that's in the way of scheduled work (not to mention the haul trucks that have been in-and-out of the roadway to take away the torn up asphalt left by the milling machine), the week has been less-than-pleasant for drivers in the area.
A milling machine obliterates the old pavement along FM 306 between I-35 and Gruene. The torn-up pavement is poured directly into a haul truck and taken to a quarry off-site. This operation - including the constate coming and going of the trucks - amplified traffic troubles along this route over the last week.
The good news: we think Hunter Industries has the project area stabilized so the bulk of the work happening is now away from the traveling lanes. That means the only thing that's really hindering anything is the loss of the left-turn arrow at Hunter Road, which is generally the road folks use to get to Historic Gruene.

So here's what we're doing: we've got signs alerting folks coming from I-35 to use Common Street to get to Gruene. We've got signs on the way that will clearly mark Common Street, and help route folks onto Old FM 306 from Common to get where they're going. Our contractor has been making a few suggestions on improving traffic flow in the area, and we think things should improve for the daily driver soon.

Until a detour sign is built and installed, this electronic message board will direct traffic headed to Gruene from I-35 onto Common Street.
We're also doing what we can to push Gruene-bound traffic from I-35 onto "The Loop" - Look 337. The Loop will allow for a near-direct route into Gruene that's unhindered by construction. It's safer for everyone, and safety is our top priority.

We're also monitoring traffic flow, and gathering with just about every major player in the area we can think of to determine action steps to help improve the situation.

While all this is happening for now, remember this project will be active for the better part of the next three years. The first half or more of that, traffic on FM 306 between I-35 and Gruene is going to be really challenging. Honestly, the next phase of work is only going to prove even more challenging than what we've got out there right now.

But we're going to keep working with the folks with the city of New Braunfels, Hunter Industries, Comal County and Historic Gruene to find ways to help folks get where they're going.

Monday, May 13

Project roundup: Northwest San Antonio/Bexar County

Today traffic piled onto I-410, being held up by a resurfacing project along Bandera Road between Grissom and Huebner roads. Because of the traffic delays - some reported waiting about an hour to get through the work area - engineers have ordered the work be put off until a better schedule can be developed.

Initially, the mill-and-overlay work was set to last daily this week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A new schedule has not yet been determined. If an easier traffic control plan can be developed, crews may again get the green light to work during the mid-day. Local media outlets will be notified of any closures.

This traffic gaffe has led to a brief update on what's happening (in general) across the northwest side of San Antonio-Bexar County.

By the way, is it crazy to anyone else that the "northwest" side of this county extends as far south as it does? Anything even with or north of U.S. Highway 90 is considered "northwest" San Antonio. With that....

Loop 1604 at Marbach

With drill support shafts erected on the south side of Marbach, crews are working to build on the north side of the road the support structures for the overpass that will guide traffic through the intersection without being stopped at the signal. Most of the work being done is between traveling lanes of Loop 1604 - that is, in the median dividing current north-bound and south-bound lanes.

While the work poses some encroachment on the traffic on Marbach itself, traffic on Loop 1604 is largely undisturbed ... for now. Once the overpass structure is constructed, larger inconveniences will be imposed on traffic in the area until the project is complete (set to finish by early 2014).
A front-end loader equipped with wide-spread lifting forks moves a hollowed-out form that will allow a concrete bridge support pillar cure at Marbach Road. Steel cages making up the reenforcement of these pillars can be seen over the boom of the excavator in the background, to the left.
This is the only overpass/expressway on Loop 1604 being built with this project. A seperate project, funded by traditional non-tolled resources and set to begin later this year, will expand the busy highway to a four-lane expressway with continuous frontage roads between Bandera Road and Culebra Road. An option to include the intersection at state Highway 151 is included in the upcoming project.

A final project to continue the expressway along Loop 1604 through Potranco Road is planned to begin in the next two years. Together, the projects effectively create an expressway along Loop 1604 from U.S. Highway 90 to Pat Booker Road.

I-10 Huebner

After a tough time using traditional methods drilling soil nail walls at UTSA Boulevard, the subcontractor working on the retaining walls has turned to another method to speed along the process. Traditionally, a chisel point is used to burrow through dirt and rock. Air is used to blow out loose material before the hole is filled with an anchor pin and grout.
They may be hard to see in this picture, but drivers should be able to see the crews wearing bright yellow vests working on the concrete median barrier near UTSA Boulevard along I-10.
However, the air was causing pockets of adjacent holes to collapse, even blowing out grout. Crews will turn to an auger to clean out the holes, then refill them as appropriate. The process means doing each soil nail individually - a more tedious process - but should save time in the long haul by getting through everything without needing to re-bore any nails.

Drivers in the area will also see a drill rig digging the foundation for bridge column supports on the east-bound side of the highway. These columns will help hold up the east-to-west turnaround bridge being built at UTSA Boulevard.

The biggest change coming up will be in June, when crews will begin working on the east-bound main lane bridge over Fredericksburg Road - or over the connector pushing traffic from Fredericksburg Road onto the west-bound frontage road of I-10. This will require eliminating a lane from the main lanes, pushing some traffic onto the frontage road at the Huebner Road exit ramp. Traffic will re-enter main lanes before reaching Huebner Road, as shown in this video.

Vance Jackson Bridge

The bridge beams are set and crews are setting deck panels. In upcoming weeks concrete crews will pour the concrete that will form the permanent bridge structure. The good news: what was once believed only possible through a weekend-long closure was completed during four overnight closures last week.
The bridge structures are almost complete at Vance Jackson and Loop 1604. Crews will begin turning to the completion of retaining walls, the bridge surface and other finish work as they push to finish the job by the end of summer.
The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of summer, this year. This will allow traffic to access facilities north of Loop 1604 along I-10 directly from Vance Jackson, easing some of the traffic along the main highways in the area.

Friday, May 10

Weekly construction lane closure report (pay close attention to I-35...)

Interstate 10
Monday-Saturday, May 13-18
9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
East-bound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Rd
The right lane will be closed in short locations as needed while crews install fiber optic cables associated with the TransGuide system.

Interstate 35
Sunday-Tuesday, May 12-14
11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
North-bound I-35 at FM 3009
All north-bound lanes will be closed while crews work on the bridge overhangs at FM 3009. Traffic will exit FM 3009 and re-enter the highway after the intersection. Individual lanes will close at 9 p.m. and the total closure will begin at 11 p.m. Expect long delays.

Tuesday-Wednesday, May 14-15
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Both directions at FM 3009
The left lane will be closed while crews remove work zone traffic barrier from the center median.

Wednesday-Friday, May 15-17
11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
Both directions at FM 3009
All lanes of I-35 will be closed in both directions while crews build the bridge deck. This is a total closure of the main lanes of the highway. Traffic will exit FM 3009 and re-enter the highway after passing through the intersection. Expect long delays.

Interstate 37
Sunday-Friday, May 12-17
6 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
South-bound main lanes between mile markers 130 and 102
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews resurface the roadway. Expect long delays.

Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.

Loop 1604
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
Saturday, May 11
6 a.m. until 4 p.m.
North-bound frontage road at Nakoma Drive and Bitters Road
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews place concrete barriers related to the Wurzbach Parkway construction project.

Other roads
Monday-Friday, May 13-17
8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily
South-bound State Highway 123 between FM 1681 and FM 1347 (Wilson County)
Alternating lanes will be closed while crews relocate concrete traffic barriers. Expect delays.

Wednesday, May 8

Gettin' to Gruene this summer....

Beginning Thursday, May 9, the trip to Gruene will be a bit trickier - but we still want you to be able to get to the historic village to enjoy the summer fare.

As part of the $30 million project that will bring overpasses to guide traffic over the long trains that frequent the area, crews will switch traffic to a new configuration near Hunter Road - the primary street leading from FM 306 into Gruene - to allow for major construction. The new configuration will eliminate the protected left-turn arrow and turn lane from the intersection.

TxDOT is working with the city of New Braunfels to develop a detour route to get folks to Gruene without needing to use the gummed-up intersection, but that route may be a few weeks from being marked. In the meantime, check with the folks at Gruene to find the fastest and best route to arrive at the shops in the area or to enjoy the river.

Earlier this week a combination of a blown fuse on a NBU line and paving work by our contractor contributed to a mess from our own lane closures. The blown fuse was fixed within a half-hour. Our closures were picked up by the afternoon. Truthfully, we were trying a few things out, trying to see what the traffic is going to be like with the new traffic switch. The volumes and the problems we saw out there have led us to push for the proposed detour route we're working with the city to make happen.

Here's the rough news: this traffic switch will be in place through the summer. Truthfully, when we move to the next phase of work, the traffic movement at Hunter isn't going to get any easier.

Some better news: we're working to upgrade the traffic signals that are out there to improve the timing. Over the next month or so, we'll be working by trial-and-error to get the timing right out there: be patient with us. The upgraded signals will work on sensors to trigger the lights appropriately for traffic flow. Those should be in place by July Fourth.

That's it - that's what I've got for now! Remember: if you're looking to enjoy some time in Gruene, take a look at what they've got and their recommendations for some alternate routes before you start your trip!

Tuesday, May 7

Newsletter-less Parkway Progress....

LOTS of info on the three Wurzbach Parkway projects this week. Here goes….

The Blanco-to-West segment is finally at a point where we feel like we’re actually doing construction work and not just clean-up. Sure, we’ve still got some cleaning to do, but we’ve got a plan of attack and we’re beginning to implement that plan. Because of all the project cleaning, we’re looking at an early fall completion date rather than the mid-summer completion. I know, it’s frustrating. Remember – the delay will mean no extra cost to the state.

The focus of work on the western end of the project is at Blanco Road. We anticipate pouring concrete to finish the sidewalks and get the west-to-east turnaround complete at Blanco Road. This will allow us to move traffic over, coming from Blanco onto Vista Del Norte, onto the permanent roadway while we finish the underground work in the area by digging up the roadway that’s currently in use. We’re hoping to make that shift by the end of the month.

The need to address the flapping visual barrier panels is not falling on deaf ears. (Although they may be deaf if we sit by those panels in the wind after more than a few minutes!) The contractor has ordered the materials to complete those, and we have stressed the importance of making this a priority.

Some folks have erected a bit of a shrine paying homage to a woman who was killed on the east-bound Wurzbach Parkway exit ramp at Bitters. These flowers, candles and cards have been placed at an overhead sign board column that is still part of an active construction zone. While we respect the sentiments of those grieving over such a tragic loss, we also hope the community recognizes we have work to do. While this isn’t part of the critical path of work, eventually our contractor will need to remove the candles, etc., in order to finish their work. Talking with the contractor today, seems we won’t be moving them immediately. When the imminent time to move these items comes, I’ll use this medium to let folks know so they can pick up their homage. Once the hard date, yet to be announced, arrives (and I’ll try to give at least a few days’ notice), the contractor will remove them.

Again, we do not want to seem insensitive. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are mourning the loss.

The segment between West Avenue and Jones-Maltsberger continues to gain momentum as Williams Brothers redirects assets previously working on the Loop 1604-US 281 interchange onto the Wurzbach Parkway project. Bridge crews are at work at Jones-Maltsberger, US 281 and at West Avenue. We’re still several weeks away from hanging bridge-support beams for these structures, but we hope to be at that point mid- to late-summer.

In the meantime, the north-bound frontage road of US 281 should be getting a ton of attention. The biggest effort to date will begin the middle of next week as crews begin widening the frontage road between the Parkway and the vacant car dealership. You’ll see crews setting barrier to protect the work zone, and you’ll lose a lane of the frontage road to the work in the process. We’ll be tearing into a few driveways, but we’ll work hard to maintain access to those locations impacted. Most of the first stages of this work will be excavation as we dig up what has been the shoulder and sidewalk area.

We’ll also be setting barrier near the main lanes and along the frontage road near Nakoma, as we begin to install some of the drain features in that area. I don’t anticipate losing lanes in that area for now, but stay tuned through the summer.

A small segment of the parkway – the west-bound frontage road at US 281 – will be open to private use beginning this weekend, weather permitting. This is intended for the use of a private property that has driveway access to the property. The segment will only extend a few hundred feet, and will connect to nothing more than the private driveway. This driveway previously connected to North Loop Road and would be cut off by work that has become imminent. Please, unless you intend to access this private residence, do not use this small segment of the parkway.

Crews working between Jones-Maltsberger and Wetmore will shift their focus away from the Mud Creek Bridge for a while and begin efforts near Jones-Maltsberger instead. Challenges at Mud Creek (we have some ride-quality issues left over from the previous contractor) have sent project managers to the drawing board, so to speak, to figure out the most efficient way to address these issues. Workers will now finish the sidewalk/walking path along the west-bound side of the parkway that abuts the practice fields and other properties on the north side of the parkway between Jones-Maltsberger and Old Blanco Road. Once the concrete work is done, subcontractors will get the future north-bound lanes of Jones-Maltsberger ready to hold traffic and we’ll move traffic over while we finish building the improvements at that intersection.

We anticipate moving traffic over on Jones-Maltsberger toward the end of the summer. Remember: when this switch takes place, we’ll still be down to a single lane in each direction. We have more work to do still on the side of the road currently in use.

Job bosses hope to have an idea as to how to attack the Mud Creek issues early summer, and will have the traffic on Starcrest moved onto the permanent Starcrest-Wurzbach intersection later this year. This will allow the work on the future west-bound lanes to begin (the future east-bound lanes are paved and nearly ready for traffic … just waiting on the bridge to follow suit). We’re hoping to make this switch sooner rather than later, as we are aware of the rapidly deteriorating condition of Starcrest in the area. Again, we’re maintaining safety there … but that doesn’t mean always a comfy ride.

All in all, that eastern segment should be finished about this time next year (fingers crossed!).

Please … keep in mind these schedule goals are weather permitting, and any “surprises” inherent to construction may also change schedules. None of these delays will cost taxpayers additional money. What’s happened on the parkway with contractors over the last year isn’t the fault of the folks funding this work, and you won’t be financially punished by it. I know it’s an added inconvenience … believe me, you’re not alone in that sentiment. We’ve got thinly stretched crews who planned on being done with this work to focus on other jobs who are looking forward to this stuff being finished more than you know!

Thursday, May 2

Loop 1604 main lane closures scheduled next week (NW San Antonio)

Crews contracted by the Texas Department of Transportation will shut down main lane traffic on Loop 1604 at Vance Jackson on the northwest side of town nightly May 6-10, causing major delays for overnight traffic in the area.

The closures will allow bridge builders with Austin Bridge Company set support beams across the main lanes of Loop 1604 to form a bridge connecting Vance Jackson with The Rim shopping center. The $3.4 million project is the result of collaboration between state and local agencies and is paid for by state Proposition 12 funds.

Monday and Tuesday nights crews will close the west-bound main lanes, pushing traffic onto the frontage road at the Lockhill-Selma Road exit. Traffic will be pinched to a single lane on the frontage road at the construction site, and will re-enter Loop 1604 after crossing Interstate 10.

Monday and Tuesday the west-bound lanes will be closed.

Wednesday and Thursday night the east-bound lanes will close, pushing traffic onto the frontage road at the Frontage Road exit east of I-10. Traffic will re-enter Loop 1604 after passing through I-10 and Lockhill-Selma, with a pinch down to a single lane at the point of construction.

Wednesday and Thursday the east-bound lanes will be closed.

No closures are scheduled Friday night. For each planned closure, which is pending weather or other conditions, crews will begin closing lanes at 9 p.m. with the total closure beginning at 11 p.m. Crews will have the lanes re-opened at 5 a.m. each day.

Police will be on hand to monitor traffic flow at the various intersections traffic will be pushed through to ensure as smooth a flow as possible. Drivers should be aware of an active railroad line that crosses the frontage roads near Tradesman.