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Tuesday, February 4

Wurzbach Parkway - progress continues

Blanco Road to West Avenue

Electricians are working to solve a blockage problem that will allow for the lighting issues near Blanco Road to be handled. The conduit carrying the power supply lines to each light is blocked in a spot, preventing the wiring from being delivered to the lights.

Meanwhile the prime contractor is working with TxDOT personnel well above the project level to determing the oucome of the Blanco Road overpass. While not yet resolved, the folks at the project level are working well with TxDOT supervisors to get the remaining work finished quickly.

Traffic has been using the western third of rhe parkway since Christmastime, though the Blanco Road overpass has remained closed while project supervisors come to agreements on how to treat the bridge surface (there are some ride-quality issues with slight dips on the surface; nothing structurally adverse, but could make for a bumpy ride) and a clear direction regarding the "punch list" and some of the finishing items on that list. The bottom line: expect to see the workers  on the western segment for the upcoming weeks. They'll be patching cracks and repainging walls and adjusting signs as they can, doing what they can do to make the new Parkway as beautiful as it can be.

Earlier we talked about opening the overpass once the overhead highway signs were put into place. Well, those overhead signs were successfully installed late last week, but we've still not opened that up. Everything boils down to the ongoing discussion regarding the bridge deck surface and getting the proper paperwork from Liberty Mutual. We hope to have that ironed out quickly. To those worried about that overpass: getting this open is one of the biggest priorities those involved with this project have. There's not a day or a week that passes without talking about how to get it done.

West Avenue to Jones-Maltsberger

The northbound exit to Bitters Road will close overnight Monday and Tuesday while crews set barrier; various lanes on the frontage roads will be closed Saturday while crews restripe roadway.

All this should allow us to open up a temporary entrance ramp from Nakoma Drive - the hope is to have that opened up Saturday, but it may not happen until Monday night. For the daily drivers, there won't be a whole lot of difference; the temporary ramp is set just south of the existing ramp, merging onto the main lanes pretty close to the current merge location.

When the temporary ramp is opened up bridge crews will begin working on the braided exit-entrance ramp in that location. The finished product will have the Bitters Road exit ramp bridging over the entrance ramp serving traffic from Wurzbach Parkway and Nakoma Drive.

Meanwhile, crews are working hard to have the new Wurzbach Parkway exit ramp built and in use late spring. The new ramp is really a reconstruction of the existing Bitters Road exit, moved back enough to allow traffic space to move over and reach the parkway.

Clear as mud? Let's sum up (remember ... this is all on the north-bound side):
  • A temporary entrance ramp from Nakoma Drive will open by Monday night
  • Construction on the future Bitters Road exit, which bridges over the future entrance ramp from Nakoma Drive (located pretty near the existing ramp), will begin
  • The future Wurzbach Parkway exit, located near the existing Bitters Road exit, should be open late spring
Meanwhile, work continues at West Avenue to build up that overpass. That work will continue for the next several weeks - even two or three months - before wrapping up. The overpass will open for use when the center segment is ready to open in its entirety.

That is currently scheduled to happen in 2015.

Jones-Maltsberger to Wetmore

The biggest news is the paving on Jones-Maltsberger, initially set to be laid two weeks ago, will need to continue waiting out the weather. Cold temperatures this week have once again set work back a week. Supervisors with Texas Sterling are looking hard for the break in the cold or wet weather to lay the asphalt down.

Meanwhile, bridge crews are pushing forward with the Mud Creek bridge, which has become a focus and a priority for all involved with the project. The sooner the Mud Creek bridge is finished, the sooner we can build the final few feet of the city's Salado Creek Trail and users can begin crossing the parkway without using a surface-level crosswalk. Right now we're still hoping to have the Mud Creek bridge finished this spring. That should allow us to get rid of the temporary traffic signals put in place to protect the crosswalk near the entrace to McAllister Park.
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