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Thursday, February 20

Fred-Med project all about drill shafts, utilities

Drill shafts making up the retaining wall supports along the westbound lanes do Medical Drive approaching the intersection of Fredericksburg Road remains the overarching ficus of work on the project. This overnight work has yielded between two and four drill shafts a night (depending on the rock the drillers hit in the process) and should be wrapping up in the next week.

Drilling is one of the noisiest activities a construction project like this calls for. Other similarly noisy and otherwise disruptive efforts (to those living or working or otherwise doing business nearby) include pounding iron palings, milling material as part of excavation and compacting asphalt.

This drilling work includes drill shafts across Fredericksburg Road - the steel plates over the road are covering these drill shafts during the day so traffic can safely move they rough the intersection without restriction. Drillers will finish on the westbound side by the end of the month and move to the eastbound side through the month of March.

These steel plates will be in place for an extended period of time. A small amount of cold-mix asphalt is used to offer a bit of a ramp up and around these plates, dulling the edges. Those who routinely drive the area should get used to these plates, though.

After the drill shafts are done, project bosses plan to have crews working in trenches under the plates - around-the-clock at times - to build the retaining walls that will mark the sides of the future underpass. That underground work - really, it's "confined space" work - will help minimize the time Fredericksburg Road is closed to build the actual bridge structure this fall.

Crews will also build the slide pads, on which the prebuilt bridge deck will slide when the contractor is ready to build the bridge. A new-to-Texas technique is being used, called slide-in-place bridge placement.

Meanwhile, occasional daytime closures have been used by SAWS in the immediate vicinity to repair or adjust services to their customers. This work, though within our work zone, is not part of our contract. These daytime lane closures are approved through SAWS channels, not through TxDOT.

And here's a 360-degree view of the intersection as it was this morning. We'll try to post these 360-degree photos throughout the project to show progression. This shot is taken from right about the top of the wall that will be built to seperate the main lanes of Medical Drive, which will run under Fredericksburg Road, and the exit lanes.