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Friday, November 1

Northbound I-35 exit to FM 3009 tabled ... for now

Closure of the northbound I-35 exit to FM 3009 has been tabled until the contractor working on the I-35 Selma project can responsibly allocate resources for the work.

This decision was made by the contractor, Dan Williams Construction. Right now the project's highest priority is getting the northbound exit to Forum Parkway finished so we can, in turn, reopen the ramps from Loop 1604 onto northbound I-35. This prioritization - and a bit of a shortage of laborers - has placed other tasks a little lower on the totem pole, so to speak.

Let's take all this one step at a time....

FM 3009 exit

First off, we're not closing the FM 3009 exit for at least a few weeks. And, with the current schedule putting us at a point to be ready for work until somewhere around Thanksgiving. But, since the businesses are dependent on the spending that happens through Turkey Day, that means we'll likely not be touching the ramp until after Thanksgiving.

Between now and then, we'll reconfigure the northbound frontage road approaching FM 3009 to allow more flow. First and foremost, that means traffic patterns will return to "normal" sometime early next week.
Though we won't have the northbound exit to FM 3009 under construction or rebuilt within the next few weeks (it will remain open until we're ready to rebuild the ramp), our crews will be restriping the road to open up the traffic flow at this intersection.
As for the exit closure? Again, we're looking at sometime after Thanksgiving at this point. When that happens, it will close for not more than three weeks while we adjust the ramp a bit and add a lane. When we're all done, the exit ramp will feature two lanes.

In the meantime, we're working where we can on the turnaround bridge(s). Frankly, the crews on the project that do the kind of concrete work needed there are committed to the Forum Parkway exit, so the schedule to open that turnaround has been pushed back a bit.
In the late afternoon, the fact you're looking directly into the sun makes taking a photo tough to do. But from under the FM 3009 overpass bridge, drivers can see the work on these structures is nearly completed. Crews are focused on the northbound exit to Forum Parkway, but as they are available some crews will work on the finishing touches - the concrete barrier rails - on the turnaround bridges.
Forum Parkway

The top priority on the project - head and shoulders above other activities - is getting the northbound exit to Forum Parkway open in time for the holiday shopping season. Really, that means Thanksgiving is the deadline we're working on (so we can be out of the way for Black Friday).

Work on the northbound exit to Forum Parkway continues. Crews are pushing to have all roads open to The Forum in time for Black Friday.
Over the last two weeks we've hung bridge support beams and started setting bridge deck panels. Next week we're planning to pour the bridge deck. That is, pour concrete to make up the bridge deck.

We'll also be working as close to around-the-clock as can safely be done on the final retaining walls for the bridge landing. Once the retaining walls are in place and the bridge deck is poured (and the curing time for the concrete has passed), we'll build the barrier.
With the bridge support beams in place and deck panels being set, crews should be pouring concrete for the Forum Parkway exit ramp early next week. We're hoping to reopen to traffic the ramps from Loop 1604 to northbound I-35, which will drive under the support arch shown here, in upcoming weeks.
All this means we're looking to reopen the ramps from Loop 1604 to northbound I-35 shortly after Veterans Day. Weather permitting, at least.

As for the exit ramp to Forum Parkway? Our crews have devoted every available resource to the ramp and we should be able to finish up just in time. That's right - all roads will be open to The Forum.

Other work areas

Wet weather has slowed down the reconstruction of the southbound exit ramp to Forum Parkway and Olympia Parkway. Traffic is using the exit to FM 1518 and following the access road to reach appropriate destinations. Before the new exit ramp can be built, two small retaining walls need to be built. Right now, between the constant onslaught of rains (hitting every time the ground dries up enough to work) and a smaller available workforce than expected, we're hoping to have that southbound exit ready before Christmas.

Yes, that's a little later than initially anticipated. Again, all available resources are being dedicated to the northbound exit to Forum Parkway. The southbound side will be built as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, subcontractors are using nightly closures to work on the center barrier and the road lighting. Most of that work should be finishing up by the end of the year.

The overall project is on pace to finish up by the end of the school year.
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