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Monday, March 10

A backlog of blogs....

Apologies for failing to log an update last week. Several partial posts were written and left unpublished. Here are the finished versions:


The big highlight for now is concrete; Lane Construction is pourin all sorts of concrete through the project. Most of the work is on bridge support structures, including columns and column caps that will hold a new bridge to Thousand Oaks from the northbound I-35 frontage road.

The work at Thousand Oaks requires closures on the frontage road and the main lanes Saturday between 5 a.m. and noon to remove the side barrier of some existing structure. The contractor is pushing hard to finish the work in this Thousand Oaks/Windcrest area quickly to allow a concentration of work late in the project in the SAMMC/Rittiman Road area. We're still several months from finishing up on that northern piece, but that's the plan.

So much for the north end of the job. On the south end, the George Beach exit ramp (southbound side) is noticeably unchanged. We're planning to close the current exit and open a temporary exit much closer to George Beach. Well, we had an equipment issue involving the lighting of the planned temporary ramp a bit more than a week ago, causing project supervisors to delay the change. The electrical contractor is working on a fix, and we're waiting on a few administrative answers to determine the viability of proposed solutions. At the moment, we don't have a scheduled date for the switch, but we do know that switch will be on a Sunday night.
Just a friendly reminder the speed limit on I-35 between Georgetown and Thousand Oaks is 55 miles per hour. It's also a work zone, which means traffic fines double.
Column caps are set to be poured for the future bridge to southbound I-410. Several bridge support structures are planned in this area and most are still to be built; still, these structures are being built well ahead of schedule.
Forms are set to build another column cap on the left, like the one on top of the columns at right. Project bosses hope to set beams this summer across northbound I-35 to build this ramp to southbound I-410 near SAMMC.
And that brings us to the big, overarching takeaway for this project: we're four months into a three-year job and we're running just a bit ahead of schedule. Keeping that pace may be tough in April, though, as we're limiting lane closures for Fiesta.

I-35 Selma

If near SAMMC the focus is on concrete, in the Selma-Schertz area the focus is on asphalt. Paving crews have been working on portions of the frontage roads being widened between FM 1518 and Forum Parkway for two weeks at this point, and the work continues. Wrapped in that paving work is the expansion of the northbound Olympia Parkway exit and the completion of the southbound Forum Parkway/Olympia Parkway exit. The northbound ramp remains open for this work, the southbound ramp is closed and will reopen later this month.

This work will mean continued alternating closures on the frontage road - particularly on the southbound side near Evans Road, where crews are rebuilding that southbound exit ramp to Olympia and Forum parkways.

A lot of people ask when the overall completion for this project is coming; work has been ongoing for about a year and a half at this point (the official start date is October 2012). Crews are still on pace for completion by the end of the school year, as promised when the project started.

U.S. 281 Comal

This project is best summed up with the following videos. By the way; this is a project that was initially expected to take more than two years; we're less than a year into work and nearly complete. Credit Hunter Industries for their hard work.



FM 306

Over the last two weeks a number of people have asked about lane closures announced via our digital message trailers. (Those things are actually called PCMBs, or Portable Changeable Message Boards, but we can call them whatever we want here....)

Well, here's the skinny (and I apologize for the delay):

The road will be totally closed at Goodwin Lane to allow bridge builders to pour concrete to form the bridge deck. We initially thought this concrete pour could happen without any road closures, then Hunter Industries checked out the lay of overhead power lines. With the power lines so nearby, cranes won't have an ability for extra movement - needed extra movement - from up on top of the bridge structures already built. To fix that, we're going to put the crane on the roadway itself. That means traffic on the roadway is a no-go.
FM 306 will close at Goodwin while a crane sets up here to pour concrete on the bridge deck.
The good news is this closure will be both brief and overnight. We had it scheduled Monday night into Tuesday, but it will now happen Wednesday night into Thursday, midnight until 4 a.m.

The second closure is to set beams at the Hunter Road railroad pass. Bridge support beams mark a major step closer to having that bridge built. The road will be closed from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Thursday night into Friday morning. Those driving through will follow FM 1102 and Hoffman Road to get around the work.
Crews will hang beams on these support structures Thursday night.
Again, the closures are:
Wednesday night/Thursday morning, March 12-13; midnight until 4 a.m., at Goodwin Lane.
Thursday night/Friday morning, March 13-14; 7 p.m. until 6 a.m., at Hunter Road.

Hunter is still working with the goal to have both bridges in use by Memorial Day and in time for the summer months.

Seguin Avenue

A week and a half ago, masons took a crack at setting some of the old stone along the new retaining wall - creating a facade meant to retain the historic look the UPRR crossing had from its original construction in the 1930s. The test area looks pretty darned good, and masons will continue their work once the remaining bridge work is complete and the area is ready for the dressing.
Masons set stone along a test portion of the retaining wall along Seguin Avenue; they will continue to set stone once the work on the railroad bridge is complete.
As for the railroad overpass there, the bridge beams are in place - they were set a bit more than a week ago. Crews continue to assemble the bridge structure, and hope to have UPRR crews ready to move the tracks from the shoo-fly detour to the permanent bridge in the next week or so (if possible). This would allow for the shoo-fly to be taken down and the road under the railroad bridge to be built.

Project bosses are eying mid-April to open the road up to a single lane in each direction; they hope to have all work finished and be entirely out of the way in time for summer.

I-10 Ralph Fair Road

If this one doesn't seem immediately familiar, it's because the work hasn't yet begun. It will, though - in the next two weeks. Traffic impacts will happen almost immediately, as we set up the work area to replace (and upgrade) the FM 3351 bridge over I-10. We're also converting some of the frontage roads to one-way roads, a start to a two-plus year effort to convert all frontage roads on I-10 between Ralph Fair Road and Loop 1604 to one-way (some are already converted).

The contractor on the project, Sundt, is one of the largest in the nation. They've already found some cost savings in the contract and have helped by giving some $400,000 of the contracted price back to the state.

Updates on Fred-Med, I-10 Huebner and Wurzbach will be posted later this week.