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Tuesday, February 18

Wurzbach Parkway progress

Wetmore to Jones-Maltsbergrer

More of the work to get the Mud Creek bridge has been finished - the support columns are all formed and built; the forms for the column caps are scheduled to be delivered this week. The columns will take about two weeks (weather allowing) to finish. Once the columns are capped, bridge crews can set beams and build the bridge deck.

On the other end of this segment, paving crews are scheduled to lay asphalt on Jones-Maltsberger (the future southbound lanes) Thursday. Recent weather issues have pushed this work back a bit; project bosses had initially planned to have the work done in January. With the new asphalt in place, traffic will be moved to begin using the actual lanes planned for the respective directions. That means southbound traffic will be on southbound lanes and northbound traffic will be on the northbound lanes. Some work remains in the middle if the road - that will happen over the few weeks after the next switch - but traffic on J-M should be about where it will stay by mid-spring.

Jones-Maltsberger to West Avenue

The most visible work right now is at West Avenue and along U.S. Highway 281. At West Avenue, bridge crews are scheduled to finish pouring the bridge deck this weekend. The first half was poured last weekend ... The upcoming work will mirror what was done before. This will mean alternating lane closures starting at 6:30 Saturday morning just as we had Feb. 15. This will finish the bridge deck and allow crews to focus on the surrounding features and the barrier rail lining the bridge.

On U.S. 281, the push is on the northbound side. Dirt crews continue to build up the area for the new Wurzbach Parkway exit ramp under Nakoma while a subcontractor continues work on drain structures near the future braided ramp exiting to Blanco ans entering from Nakoma. This drain structure needs to be built before the support structures for the ramps.

Just because this segment is seen the least of the three segments, here's a look (end to end) at the work being done. Note: this video was shot during the workers' lunch hour, so don't be alarmed if you don't see a bunch of guys actually doing the work!


 
West Avenue to Blanco Road

The last remaining piece of this segment is the Blanco Road overpass, which remains unopened until the bridge deck surface issue is resolved. Again, it's not a structural issue but a ride-quality issue; the kind of subtle dips in that bridge deck currently existing can make the drive less comfortable that we like. It also creates a potential for puddling when rains fall.

Here's the bottom line: project bosses are targeting spring break to have the Blanco Road overpass prpopen to traffic. Several factors can impact this, including approval of a batch of asphalt mix (that is in the hands of the Vulcan Materials Company), weather (that's in the hands of a Power higher than us at TxDOT) and equipment (that's on the shoulders of Clark Construction).

Liberty Mutual has approved a plan to address the bridge deck surface; a subcontractor (enter Clark Construction) will add a surface layer of asphalt to smooth the road. Clark's equipment is scheduled to be repaired and ready to go this week; asphalt should be ready by the weekend. If the weather holds - TxDOT specifications require temperatures higher than 60 to lay asphalt - we should be able to get the work done by spring break.

Here's a look at the bridge:

 
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