Next week - Friday morning, to be precise - the southbound I-35 exit to George Beach will be moved.
I bet right about now you're scratching your head, wondering how that will happen overnight....
A temporary ramp is being constructed, and it's a lot closer to George Beach than the current one is. In fact, the temporary ramp dumps traffic onto the frontage road right about at Petroleum Drive (a small, seldom-used road that once served as an additional entryway to Fort Sam Houston). When that ramp is opened Thursday night (Feb. 27), the current exit ramp to George Beach will close. Crews will begin turning that exit ramp into an entrance ramp from Rittiman Road. (I'm working on a graphic ... Hope to have it up Friday.)
Here's the rub: as it is, rush-hour traffic headed into SAMMC stacks up onto the main lanes while waiting to get into the gate of the base. With less frontage road to hold that traffic, that queue will likely stack up even more. We're advising people to use other gates to get into Fort Sam (where possible) or exit Rittiman and move through the signal there.
Whatever your route, you'll need to add a few minutes to your daily commute.
Work continues in the northbound exit ramp to Olympia Parkway (we're adding an exit lane there), and (for the time being) it's carrying double the load while being rebuilt. The exit to FM 1518 remains closed to allow widening work to progress, pushing traffic headed to the FM road onto the Frontage road sooner by way of the Olympia Parkway ramp. The ramp for FM 1518 is on pace to reopen by April 1 (no Foolin'!).
The southbound side is nearing a change, though. Those who've been following know crews worked a ton of overtime to have the exit open - and all roads open to The Forum - by doing some temporary work. This includes placing temporary concrete barriers and leaving undone some asphalt work. Those temporary measures will be removed for the permanent solutions starting March 2.
This means the southbound exit to Olympia Parkway will close until the ramp is finished; project supervisors anticipate less three weeks. Traffic will exit FM 1518 to reach Olympia Parkway and Forum Parkway.
Road-builders are still working to add width to the main lanes and frontage roads, particularly between FM 1518 and Forum Parkway. This requires continued closures on the access roads, both directions, as paving operations and large trucks do what they need to do. Frontage roads are limited to a single lane during this work.
Crews are also working in what has been the shoulder area of the main lanes, adding the space to make room for the extra lane of traffic being added. We hope to have most of this widening work done somewhere around Spring Break.