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Friday, June 28

Celebrating independence from construction closures!

In honor of Independence Day next week, we're making  you independent of construction-related road closures! How about THAT for a way to celebrate?!?

Seriously though, most of our projects are on a short work-week, and we'll only have activity Monday-Wednesday. That way our crews can enjoy the family celebrations while avoiding being in your travel routes.

We will have some minor maintenance closures, and there's a scheduled closure of a single right lane on Blanco Road at Wurzbach Parkway Monday thru Wednesday, but that's all that's on the radar ... for now.

But be ready for a slew of activity the week after ID4 - we'll have some time to make up!

Oh ... yeah ... any of the long-term closures (like the right main lane on east-bound I-10 near Huebner and the turnarounds on U.S. 281 at Bitters) will remain closed. But beyond that, should be pretty smooth sailing for the week!

Ramps reopening soon on I-35....


After today's status meeting, we've got some good things to report on the I-35 Selma project....

Our contractor out there is currently working on the FM 3009 turnaround bridges - which they anticipate will open by the end of  July or early August. Rain over the last few weeks set some of that work back, and new priorities have popped up in recent weeks and are pulling crews to other areas of the project.


The FM 3009 bridges still need the approach lanes to be completed, the concrete barriers poured and the final roadway markings painted ... but that should only take about a month to complete.
Dirt crews are still doing their thing between FM 1518 and Schertz Parkway - working the new berms between the highway and around the exit and entrance ramps. The north-bound ramps are expected to be opened the week of July 8 ... the south-bound ramps are due open the week of July 15.
Dirt crews are working on the fine details of berms and medians before letting pavers place final layers of hot mix on the entrance and exit ramps before FM 1518 and Schertz Parkway.
TxDOT is continuing to work with the contractor on a revised traffic control plan for the new north-bound exit ramp to Forum Parkway, which closed for reconstruction in January. Most of the work right now involves surveying the new traffic pattern, which is planned to be put in place (and be minimally noticable to regular drivers) the week of July 7. The overpass is expected to be opened and ready for use late fall.
When crews are finished, a braided ramp - a bridge, really - will move north-bound traffic from I-35 to Forum Parkway here, bridging over the traffic coming off of Loop 1604. This ramp should be ready for use late fall.


Thursday, June 27

Fred-Med....

One of the most common questions asked each week is:

"When will the project at Fredericksburg and Medical begin?"

Well, here's the answer: This summer.

Here's the skinny....

A year and a half ago, we began preparing to move forward with the contract with Ballenger Construction as the low bidder. However, a slew of utility adjustments delayed the start of the project until fall of 2012. By then, some issues with the financial viability of Ballenger had become apparent, and District Engineer Mario Medina stepped in with some stipulations before giving the contractor a notice to proceed (fancy official document giving the contractor permission to start working).

That was September. By November, the company had filed for bankruptcy, putting question marks on the schedules of more than $500 million in construction projects state-wide. Those projects that had started - including three in San Antonio - fell into the control of the contractor's bonding company (like an insurance company for construction companies). Because the "Fred-Med" project hadn't been started, it reverted back to TxDOT control.

After about three months' worth of realigning all the proper paperwork, the project was re-let (meaning we put it out for more bids). The apparent low bidder is Texas Sterling Construction.

What does that mean? Well, for now it means we're working out the details of the contract. That typically takes more than a month (it's been just over a month at this point) and then the contractor takes some time to mobilize their forces before starting work.

If all goes well, it means we'll be into Fred-Med sometime late this summer. Once we have a more firm date, we'll broacast it from the hospital-tops. And, with a 24-month work schedule, it means we're looking at a completion date of late 2015 (assuming all goes well, of course).

So that's where we're at with the Fred-Med project. Hopefully, that clears some things up!

Monday, June 24

More construction-related closures this week....

A few closures for the week that came in late....

Interstate 10
Monday-Tuesday, June 24-25
11:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
West-bound main lanes between DeZavala Road and UTSA Boulevard
The two right lanes will be closed while crews move and set concrete traffic barriers. The exit ramp to UTSA Boulevard and the entrance ramp from DeZavala Road will be closed. Use the next available exit.

Interstate 35
Sunday-Friday, June 23-28
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Main lanes between Spur 536 (S. Alamo) and Spur 422 (Poteet-Jourdanton Freeway)
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed in both directions while crews restripe pavement markings. Expect delays.

Sunday-Friday, June 23-28
9 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Main lanes between Von Ormy and the Atascosa County line
Rolling, alternating lanes will be closed in both directions while crews restripe pavement markings. Expect delays.

Tuesday-Thursday, June 25-27
9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily
Frontage road turnaround south of the Medina River
The frontage road turnaround on the south side of Medina River will be closed while crews place concrete traffic rail. Traffic will need to use the next available turnaround.

Thursday, June 27
9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Frontage road turnaround north of the Medina River
The frontage road turnaround on the north side of Medina River will be closed while crews excavate the slope leading up to the Medina River bridge. Traffic will need to use the next available turnaround.

Interstate 37
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.

Loop 1604
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
No closures scheduled.

Farm-to-Market roads
No closures scheduled.

All planned lane closures are pending weather.

Friday, June 21

Next week's road closures....

A few of these are pretty major, so read up!

Interstate 10
Monday-Friday, June 24-28
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
West-bound frontage road between Huebner and Woodstone
The left lane will be closed while crews set concrete barriers. This closure includes the east-to-west turnaround at Huebner. Traffic will use the intersection to turn around. Expect delays.

Monday-Friday, June 24-28
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes between Wurzbach and Woodstone
The two right lanes will be closed while crews set concrete barriers. This closure will include the Ramsgate entrance ramp and the Woodstone exit ramp. Use alternate ramps. Expect delays.

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 25-26
9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
East-bound main lanes between Martin Luther King Drive and Houston Street
The right lane will be closed while crews set concrete barriers. This closure includes the east-bound exit to Houston Street, which will remain closed until November. Traffic should use the WW White exit to reach Houston Street. Expect delays.

Interstate 35
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 37
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.

Loop 1604
Sunday-Wednesday, June 23-26
9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes at Vance Jackson
The right lane will be closed while crews set overhead highway signs.
One-way traffic will be controlled by a flagger while crews resurface the highway. Expect delays.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
Friday, June 21 for two months
9 a.m.
North-to-south turnaround at Brookhollow
The north-to-south turnaround at Brookhollow will be closed until August 31 while crews repair the retaining wall. Traffic will need to use the signaled intersection.

Saturday, June 22
5 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.
North-bound frontage road between Arion Parkway and Maltsberger Lane
The right lane will be closed to accommodate trucks pouring concrete bridge slabs for the future entrance and exit ramps at Wurzbach Parkway. Expect delays.

Saturday, June 22
7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
North-bound frontage road between Arion Parkway and Bitters Road
The left lane will be closed while road crews mill the road. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Nakoma. Traffic will go through Bitters Road and use the next available entrance ramp. Expect delays.

Other roads
Monday-Tuesday, June 24-25
10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.
Bitters Road at U.S. Highway 281
All lanes of Bitters Road will close at Highway 281 while crews build drill shaft support structures for the U.S. 281 overpass bridge expansion. Traffic will use frontage roads and Nakoma Drive and Winding Way to reach their destinations. Expect long delays.

All planned lane closures are pending weather.

Cibolo Creek Bridge on Main Street in Boerne will close for a night....

Weather permitting, bridge crews widening the Main Street bridge over Cibolo Creek will close the bridge to set support beams the night of Tuesday, June 25.

The closure will be complete, requiring traffic to use alternate routes to reach their destinations. The marked detour should be familiar to locals – it’s the detour route used for parades that shut down Main Street – and will follow River Road, Esser Road and Blanco Road.

Crews will begin closing lanes at 9 p.m. June 25 and have the bridge reopened by 6 a.m. June 26. Right now project personnel think they can finish the work in a single night. If inclement weather prevents the work, new dates and times will be announced.

The closure will allow bridge-builders to move a large crane onto the bridge to set concrete beams in place. These beams will support the expanded portion of the bridge. Construction on the bridge is scheduled to wrap up later this year.

Tuesday, June 18

Beating the Bitters confusion....

More than a few phone calls have poured in over the announced closures happening at the intersection of U.S. Highway 281 and Bitters Road as part of the Wurzbach Parkway project. While these closures were described a week ago, let's make sure everyone is clear on what's really happening.

Here's the facts:
  • Starting tonight the south-to-north and north-to-south turnarounds on U.S. 281 at Bitters will be closed. These turnarounds will be closed for six (6) months.
  • Starting tonight the right-hand through lane of Bitters Road will be closed at U.S. Highway 281. This lane will be closed for six (6) months.
  • Through traffic at Bitters will NOT be cut off entirely. Not long-term, that is. Two lanes headed east and one lane headed west will remain.
  • Occasionally an additional closure will be required. These additional closures will NOT be long-term and will be announced as they are needed.
Just for grins, here's why we're closing things: we're widening the U.S. 281 overpass at Bitters Road. The expansion isn't huge - it's only enough to allow us to fit one additional lane of traffic. But it means we'll be working on overhead bridge structures. Any time we're working overhead, we don't like to have traffic running under us. Just ... so many bad things can happen. Since safety is our top priority, we just like to leave that stuff alone.

The turnarounds will be closed because we'll be doing the most work there. The new bridge structure will require abutment joints and new "rip-rap" (the concrete slope at the ends of the bridge). Lots of digging and demo work will be going on there, then some construction. With all the equipment and the moving parts, shutting the turnarounds down is simply the only way.

The right through lanes are closed to help bridge crews build the necessary columns and caps. We'll eventually need to have similar shorter-termed closures at the center of the bridge, but this closure lets us get as much as we can accomplish before we move into the middle - making the work in the middle faster.

Again, thru traffic on Bitters is NOT being stopped long-term. However, daily commuters should anticipate a few extra minutes to drive through this. Plan on that extra time, and travel accordingly. We'll get things wrapped up as quickly as we can so we can be out of the way of one another.

Above all, be safe! Remember this work zone is our "office". Can you imagine working in an office where cars were zipping by, within just a few feet of your desk? It can be nerve-racking! Be careful and cautious so we can return home to our families each day. We've got husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and mothers on that job. We'd like to continue in those capacities, and we have folks depending on our ability to do so as well....

Saturday, June 15

Off the beaten path ... (roundup of non-metro projects)

We spend so much time talking about projects in the San Antonio-Bexar metro area, but the San Antonio district covers 12 counties. So, out of deference to those living in the "other" 11 counties, here's a glance at where we're at with our other projects:

Comal County

This is where the bulk of our major work that's not in San Antonio is going on. I'll try to be brief, but complete....

Seguin Street (Business 46)
The contractor is hard at work to install five-foot-by-two-foot drain boxes - one of the major features of this project, which will provide much-needed improved drainage in addition to the widened roadway - while working on the early stages of the shoofly detour for the railroad.

We're still holding strong to the stance that we'll not allow any closures on the road until the summer season is over. However, the contractor has targeted 9 September as the date to begin the heaviest work of the project. This work will require the total closure of Seguin Street, and we won't open the road back up until mid-April 2014.

FM 306
What you see out there now is about what you'll see day in, day out for the next five months or so. That said, our contractor (Hunter Industries) is working hard to make the overall project move more quickly. They've been working on some segments that weren't scheduled for work until later next year. The idea is to work in every area that's barricaded off right now, rather than focus efforts in one area with a large swath of barricaded roadway going unworked.

Also, sometime next week, the contractor should be receiving VIVDS cameras for the signals at Common and at Hunter. These will allow the signals to sense traffic rather than relay on a timer. This will improve traffic flow - well, as much as can be done with occasional interruptions from train crossings!

The goal is to have the VIVDS operational in time for the July Fourth weekend, weather permitting.

U.S. 281 (Spring Branch)
Not a lot has changed for those passing through, and not a lot will for the next several weeks. Well, with one slight exception.

Crews were slated to install a new signal set at the intersection of U.S. 281 and FM 306 Friday, but weather washed those plans away (see what I did there?). The plan is to re-group over the upcoming week and get things put in as soon as the ground is dry enough to allow. This will require some traffic control for the duration of work - about a day - and folks should look out for a flagger. Again, it shouldn't be for longer than a day.

Kendall County

Main Street Boerne
The work on The Hill Country Mile plods along ... we're hoping to be all finished up with everything by the end of summer. So far, no indications that work is running behind at all.

Kerr County

Hwy 39 Ingram
This project is a bit frustrating for everyone involved. The contractor received a notice to proceed in January ... and, well, to date they have constructed half of a box culvert and a single wing wall.

Earlier this week the contractor drilled the first drill shafts - evidence of work on the bridge near Ingram Tom Moore High School. TxDOT engineers are working with the contractor to spur construction, which was initially scheduled to take just 13 months.

Guadalupe and Wilson counties

The biggest work east of Bexar County is along state Highway 123 - where we're working to build passing lanes and turn lanes. A lot of work has been finished, but we've got a lot left. Our contractor is expected to be finished in a little more than a year. Between now and then our work will, for the most part, remain beyond the traveling lanes of the highway.

McMullen County

Since there are something like 750 people down in McMullen county, I need to make mention of it. Really, the county is home to a lot of Eagle Ford Shale work.

TxDOT crews are hard at work down south to keep state Highway 16 in good repair so folks can continue driving through as they do. That's about all we've got going on in that county.

Atascosa, Frio, Medina, Uvalde, Bandera counties

Most of our work through the south and southwest segments of our district is maintenance work - nothing major happening beyond the work on I-35 at Medina River and on I-37 between the Atascosa County line and Loop 1604 (really, that's in Bexar County). That I-37 work - the south-bound lanes are being repaved - has caused some major delays and is being done at night.

Friday, June 14

Construction road closures for next week....

Interstate 10
Monday-Friday, June 17-21
8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes between Wurzbach and DeZavala
The two left lanes will be closed nightly while crews work on the center median concrete barrier.

Saturday-Sunday, June 15-16
9 p.m. until 2 a.m.
West-bound main lanes between Wurzbach and DeZavala
The two left lanes will be closed while crews work on the center median concrete barrier. This will reduce traffic to a single lane for some of the closure area. Expect long delays.

Interstate 35
Monday-Thursday, June 17-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Main lanes between Nogalitos (downtown) and I-410 (southwest San Antonio)
Rolling, alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the highway.

Interstate 37
No closures scheduled.

Interstate 410
No closures scheduled.

Loop 1604
Monday-Thursday, June 17-20
9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly
West-bound main lanes at Vance Jackson (northwest side)
The left lane will be closed while crews work on the center median.

U.S. Highway 90
No closures scheduled.

U.S. Highway 281
Saturday, June 15
6 a.m. until 4 p.m.
North-bound main lanes between Nakoma and Bitters
The right lane will be closed while road crews mill the right shoulder. Trucks will be entering and exiting the highway for this work. Expect delays.

Monday-Thursday, June 17-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Main lanes at Basse Road
Rolling, alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the highway.

Monday, June 17, for six months
10 p.m. start
Turnarounds at Bitters Road
Both turnarounds on U.S. Hwy 281 at Bitters Rd will be closed for six months while crews widen the U.S. 281 overpass bridge at Bitters Road. This will be a total closure. Traffic will need to move through the intersection to go in the other direction.

Monday, June 17, for six months
10 p.m. start
Bitters Road crossing U.S. Highway 281
The right lane of Bitters Road will be closed in each direction at U.S. Highway 281 for six months while crews widen the U.S. 281 overpass bridge over Bitters Road.

Other highways
Monday-Thursday, June 17-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
Farm to Market 143 between Loop 1604 and Cagnon Road
Rolling, alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the highway.

Monday-Thursday, June 17-20
9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly
U.S. Highway 181 between the Wilson County line and Loop 1604
Rolling, alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the highway.

All planned lane closures are pending weather.

Wurzbach Parkway: Shutting down the turnarounds at Bitters Rd and US 281


The turnarounds at Bitters Road will be closed for six months, starting Tuesday night, to allow bridge crews to work on an expansion segment of the U.S. Highway 281 overpass bridge.

This closure will include the right through lane running under the bridge in each direction. Closing these lanes will allow crews to drill and build necessary support shafts.
This closure will force turnaround traffic through the intersection, impacting traffic along the frontage roads. Additionally, cross-traffic on Bitters Road will find traffic squeezed down (down to a single lane headed west and two lanes headed east), likely adding a few minutes to the daily commutes of those driving through.

Over the duration of the closure, a few additional closures will be needed to allow crews to construct the support structures planned for the center line of Bitters Road. Those closures (the first of which is tentatively planned for the end of this month) will be announced as they become imminent.

For more info on the Parkway, see the weekly newsletter online.

Thursday, June 13

Game-day road closures (GO SPURS GO!)

The intent was to get this published about two hours ago ... so much for that.

Here's a look at hiccups drivers may experience tonight in their drive to/from the game:

I-10
First of all, keep in mind we have some active construction zones on I-10 between Loop 1604 and Wurzbach Road. For east-bound traffic, there's a significant traffic switch going on out there. The pavement markings show the right lane as an "exit only" lane approaching Huebner - it functions as a detoured main lane. So, though it looks like the highway necks down to just two lanes, stay in that right lane if that's where you're at when you drive through there. It's a great spot that won't have to sit through much of the slow-down at those two lanes that are left untouched.

On the way home ... we'll have at least one (probably two) lanes closed off at a couple of points between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard. Please drive slow through this area and be attentive - we don't want to be hit by someone who's celebrated a little too hard tonight.

I-35
We shouldn't have much in your way on your way to the game. However, be mindful of us on your way home. We'll be working between SW Military Drive and Rittiman Road, marking the pavement (painting stripes, etc.). Please let us do that safely! Expect alternating lane closures. Of course, if the rain continues, we probably won't be doing this at all tonight (hard to paint wet pavement!).

Beyond Loop 1604, expect our crews to have two left lanes closed while we move around some barrier between Loop 1604 and Olympia Parkway. It's going to make things back up a little, but you should be able to get through just fine.

Monday, June 10

The summer switch on I-10

Over the weekend we closed all lanes of east-bound I-10 to set up a summer-long traffic pattern that will help us repair the overpass bridge running over the north-bound Fredericksburg Road connector, which pushes north-bound traffic on Fredericksburg Road (Loop 345) onto the west-bound frontage road of I-10.

Since we've already discussed this work on this blog a few times, let's just stick to some video of what's happening:


Also, here's a look at the work and the traffic change if you're headed north on Fredericksburg Road:

Thursday, June 6

So I've been out-of-town, and this happens....

All lanes of east-bound Interstate 10 between DeZavala and Huebner roads are scheduled to close this weekend.

I'll give you a moment to digest that.

Once again: All lanes of east-bound I-10 are scheduled to close for a stretch east of DeZavala Road and west of Huebner Road while crews place concrete barrier and stripe the roadway to prepare for major work lasting through the summer.

The highway will re-open in time for Monday morning traffic, though road crews are optimistic they will have the highway reopened sooner. Weather will have a major impact on this work, as the work requires bare, dry road surfaces to complete.

Traffic will use the Fredericksburg Road exit, exit number 559, and re-enter the highway before reaching Huebner Road during the weekend closure. The north-bound connector joining Fredericksburg Road with the west-bound I-10 frontage road will also be closed. Traffic using Fredericksburg Road to reach west-bound I-10 should go through Huebner Road to do so.
 
When the total closure is complete, a new traffic configuration will be in place to allow bridge crews to repair the overpass structure over the Fredericksburg Road connector. Only two lanes will remain on the east-bound I-10 main lanes, with a third lane being pushed onto the frontage road at Exit 560A (Huebner Road). That third lane will re-enter the highway before reaching Huebner Road.
 
This configuration will remain in place through the summer and is part of a construction milestone expected to last 70 days. For a look at what we're doing on a map, see my post from two weeks ago on the milestone on I-10.
 
Here's where things get (seemingly) more complex: Exit 560B – a frontage road exit offering access to businesses such as USAA along the east-bound frontage road between Huebner and Wurzbach Road – will not be accessible during the summer, either. Drivers headed to USAA and other locations along the frontage road will need to use the Huebner Road exit and follow the detour route. They will be able to use the exit ramp when they use the entrance ramp before reaching Huebner Road.
 
When putting words on paper, this traffic switch sounds like a mess. After two or three runs, most folks will get a good feel for what’s happening. My advice is to leave an extra ten or fifteen minutes early for those first few days while we feel each other out.
 
The north-bound Fredericksburg Road connector will remain closed through the summer while crews work overhead on the bridge structure.
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