Apologies for the dearth of posts over the last week. Fair warning: next week will be similarly sparse. There's a single contributor to these posts, and he was out of the office much of this week and will likewise be out next week.
In that vein, Happy Opening Day, everyone! Well, an early wish, anyway.
But you came here to read about roads, not baseball. With that, here's a brief run-down on the latest concerning our most major projects:
Concerted efforts continue to finish retaining walls along the expanded edges of main lanes between UTSA Boulevard and Huebner Road. This will allow the contractor to build the wider roadway and shift traffic for the upcoming milestone at the DeZavala overpass bridge. That's also why we're knocking out the center median barrier near DeZavala; to facilitate the shift.
When we reach the milestone (no specific date has been set yet) we'll shift traffic over to one side of the bridge, leaving the other side free for work. This shift will last six months, then we'll shift over to the other side to finish the work. All told, expect traffic to be squeezed onto one side or the other of that bridge for a total of about one year.
Only regular nightime closures and the occasional daytime frontage road closures we've had the last several weeks are disrupting traffic today.
Ralph Fair Road bridge
The project that will widen the Ralph Fair Road bridge has begun. No major closures yet; just be aware the area is an active construction zone and we'll have constantly changing landscape for the next year and a half.
Most of the work for the next couple of weeks will involve some simple excavation and some culvert work.
Main Street Boerne
We're hoping to get the Cibolo Creek bridge finished on Main Street (U.S. Hwy 87) in Boerne soon. Relmco Construction has been on that project, and they're planning to close the bridge overnight a few nights in April - April 8 and 9, to be exact - to finish the bridge deck surface. Ths should be near the last work we've got left on this project, and we should be clear of the area by the end of April.
Hwy 39 Ingram
Another Relmco project, we're now about two full months into the second phase of expanding Hwy 39 through Ingram. We're working on some of the more difficult portions of the underground drain system, which is often about 12 feet deep with large structures. A lot of this is slow-going work, particularly with the abundance of rain we've had in the region lately. As we continue through this big, deep stuff, folks will start seeing more of the fruits of our work as the culverts and retaining walls are more visible.
With the widening on the south side of the Johnson Creek Bridge continuing, we should have all the "bones" of the bridge in place by the end of April. That will allow the full expansion of the bridge before summer, with sidewalks on the bridge reopening soon after.
Hwy 281 Comal
The Spring Branch project, worked by Hunter Industries, continues to move at a near unparalleled pace. Hunter says they'll be ready to move traffic onto the remaining southbound lanes - through the old Gass property, just south of Jumbo Evans Park - near the first part of April. This will be much like the earlier switch onto the southbound lanes, near FM 306, with traffic still limited to a single lane in each direction.
On the northbound side, Hunter is hoping to have everything ready to open by July Fourth, when final paving surfaces will be placed.
As for the Post Office, we're actually building around the building rather than hold up the job to build through it as the plans call for. That detour, the little "bubble route" (this is Texas, right? Football terms should work...), will go to the west side of the Post Office. Later, once the right-of-way issues are resolved, the building will be removed and the road will be placed in its intended path.
Somewhere around the second week of April, Hunter Industries is hoping to move traffic between Goodwin Lane and I-35 onto the future outside lanes and open up the middle area for work. This is similar to the traffic switch that happened a month or so ago between Common Street and Hunter Lane.
We're still operating with the goal of having both railroad overpasses open and rolling in time for Memorial Day weekend. We should also have the road widened between Goodwin and I-35, providing some extra space for traffic headed to the businesses along that stretch.
Not much more to report here than we're still pushing forward, preparing to open the underpass by April 15. When we open it, we'll only have one lane in each direction open at first; we've still got some work left to do, and will be moving forward on that work as we prepare to be done and out of the way completely by summertime.
Those who've driven through the area have noticed Dan Williams Co. have opened everything up - and by everything, I mean all the exit and entrance ramps - between FM 3009 and Loop 1604. Most of the pavement is in place for the widening. Right now resources are being allocated to finish the south-to-north turnarounds at FM 3009 and at FM 1518. We hope to have them functional and open by mid-April.
Once that's done, we'll see the project get final surfaces of asphalt where it's still needed. Then we'll restripe the roadway where needed, and have the extra lane open in each direction. We're still on pace to be out of the way, as promised, by the end of the school year.
Lane Construction is working hard on portions of the north end, near Windcrest, while maintaining good pace on the south end of the project. Their hope is that, come 2015, we'll be working primarily on the south side of the project (closer to SAMMC) and on the new connector ramp from I-35 to southbound I-410.
Routine overnight closures are still running, but we'll be limiting closures through April for Fiesta. That shouldn't bog down much of this project; there's a lot to do outside the current travel lanes.
I-10 east San Antonio
This is that segment of I-10 near New Braunfels Ave. that's been on hold the last six months. We're back underway, and the contractor should be constructing the "detour" area (an asphalt area onto which we'll switch traffic to create a work zone) over the next few weeks. Expect to see a lot more activity and, by the end of April, a traffic switch. That shouldn't impact traffic more than it's already been impacted. The overall project - an effort to create room between the main lanes and overpass bridges in the area - will finish by fall 2015.
The biggest news on this is that the Blanco Road overpass bridge should be opened up and ready for use by next weekend. We had crews scheduled to pave the bridge deck surface earlier this week, but that work was washed out by the rain that blew through the region.
The remaining work should take just 4-5 working days, if weather permits. Crews are scheduled to start that work early next week, and we should finally be able to put that western segment of the Parkway to rest.