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Friday, December 6

Spring Branch, The Loop, Seguin Ave and other Comal County things

It's been a while since a hearty post was published about all things Comal County, so this post should be a particular treat to those living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country areas north of the metro area....

New project

The best place to begin is with something new, right? Earlier this week we accepted bids on a project at I-35 and Loop 337 (Rueckle Road) to reconfigure the Loop 337 overpass bridge. Hunter Industries of San Marcos submitted the apparent low bid, 10 percent less than the estimate TxDOT engineers came up with.

For more on this, check out the KGNB Web site here. (We'd post more here, but KGNB has all the info we'd have.)

U.S. 281 Comal

Two major items have happened on the U.S. 281 project up in Spring Branch: the southbound lanes have been seperated from the northbound lanes between the Blanco-Comal county line and Blazing Meadows. Second - and, perhaps, most important for motorists to know - is the decrease in speed limit along the project.

The speed limit change is permanent. Except for a small segment near FM 311, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. Remember: it's an active construction zone, and Comal County law enforcement officials are enforcing the speed limit. If workers are on the project, the fine is doubled.

That short segment at FM 311 is posted at 50 miles per hour, but it's not a bad idea to drop to 45.

Just for grins, here's a look at the drive from the county line to the Guadalupe River:

Seguin Avenue

This is a project that won't give us much to really talk about (regarding traffic switches, etc.) until sometime this spring. Well, we'll have a traffic switch on Seguin Avenue between Nacogdoches and Faust as we finish the work we're doing on the westbound side of Seguin Avenue and move onto the eastbound side, but that's still a few weeks away.

For now, we're on pace to finish the project on time. The shoofly detour is in place and in use. The old overpass bridge structure has been removed and crews are getting ready to start building the new bridge.

Remember: we need to build two bridges and knock down two bridges. We're building the shoofly bridge, knocking down the old bridge, building a new bridge, then knocking down the shoofly bridge.

We're also building the drain field - really, a detention pond - under the roadway as well. That will help keep the entryway to New Braunfels open through rain events. With the rock walls that will match the original retaining walls along the project (and the nice pedestrian handrails along the road under the UPRR overpass), it will make for a beautiful gateway to the city's downtown.

I-35 Selma

With the work at Forum Parkway done - at least, the bridge work is done - bridge crews and concrete crews are being moved to work on the FM 3009 overpass and turnaround bridges. The goal is to have the north-to-south turnaround open and the overpass at its final configuration by Christmas.

The future

City and county officials have adopted a list of priorities - five prioritized projects, really - to submit to the metropolitan planning organization. Both municipalities are now members of the San Antonio-Bexar County MPO, and most projects with TxDOT and federal funds need approval through the MPO moving forward. (By the way, rumor has it the MPO will be getting a new name.)

Among the prioritized projects submitted by Comal County and New Braunfels is work on Loop 337 between Altgelt and Highway 46, expansion of FM 306 between Hunter Road and River Chase Drive and expansion of Hwy 46 at Bulverde.