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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.