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Thursday, June 5

Development beyond San Antonio

*photos will be posted tomorrow

The biggest disadvantage to being the sole poster for an organizational blog like this is when that sole poster is out of town (or state) for a period of time, the posts stop altogether.

So, apologies for going dark over the last three weeks. To get us back up and running, and to get everyone on the same page again, we'll start with a (really long) post about projects beyond the city of San Antonio. So, if you're here to read about projects in Kendall, Guadalupe or Comal county, enjoy.

FM 1101
The Texas Transportation Commission in April approved funds for a contract to expand FM 1101 on the northeast side of New Braunfels.

Hunter Industries - who is building three other major projects we'll discuss in a bit - won the project with a bid of $6,154,722.50. That was nearly 6 percent under our own engineers' estimate of the construction costs for this project. (Total project cost is expected to be around $8 million.)

So ... what are we doing? We're expanding the road to include a continuous left-turn lane. We're also adding bike lanes and sidewalks. Now, this will stretch between Hwy 46 and FM 306, essentially. Work will begin this summer, and we'll certainly be working in the school zones through the school year.

Those are the facts right now; the goal right now is just to let folks know this project is coming. More details will be available when the project gets underway.

FM 306
This is another Hunter Industries project (including FM 1101, this is 2 of 4).

The contractor opened the bridge at Goodwin late last month. The bridge at Hunter Lane was opened earlier this week. Moving forward, this means traffic on this portion of FM 306 will never have to stop to wait for a train again. That's a thing completely of the past. Granted, it's only one lane each way. But that's because we've only got the westbound bridges built, and for now we're using them for two-way traffic. Work on the eastbound bridges started earlier this week.

Now, this shift to the overpasses has been accompanied by a few headaches, particularly at Common Street. We're working with the city of New Braunfels to adjust the traffic signals at Common to allow for optimal traffic flow.

That said, we did get a left turn lane open for westbound traffic at Hunter Road. That means folks headed to Gruene are able to get there by turning left at Hunter. The contractor is working on getting the section of road between I-35 and Lifehouse opened up to four lanes (two each way).

Overall completion is still on target for January 2015.

Loop 337 (Rueckle Road)

Seguin Avenue

Trains are using the new bridge and the shoo-fly detour has been removed. We are still having occasional overnight closures of Seguin Avenue at the UPRR crossing while painters touch up the bridge; previous paint work has been spoiled a bit by the rains during recent weeks.

The contractor, Austin Bridge and Road - the same company that built the original railroad underpass in the 1930s - is is busily working on the sidewalks and driveways on the west side of the underpass while stone masons place the rock face for the retaining walls. Remember: these stones for the wall face are the same stones that comprised the original retaining wall.

If all goes well, the latest ABR schedule shows work to be finished at the end of this month.

U.S. 281 Comal

Representatives with the U.S. Post Office held a public meeting this week to discuss potential new locations for the Spring Branch Post Office, which is sitting in the middle of what will eventually be the northbound main lanes of U.S. Highway 281.

The property the post office sits on belongs to the Texas Department of Transportation, as it was acquired through the normal right-of-way acquisition process. Since then, the USPS has been working with the folks at TxDOT to develop an agreeable solution to the problem; that is, our road is supposed to go where their building is currently sitting.

Among the solutions - all temporary, until the Post Office can be moved to another location - is a plan that would create a small "detour" for the northbound lanes through (or near) the west parking lot of the Post Office. This is a detour that will remain in place until the originally planned roadway can be built.

To be absolutely clear: this project is not delayed at this point. In fact, the project is running ahead of schedule. Credit Hunter Industries for that. Even with the situation around the Post Office, this project should finish well ahead of the scheduled completion date.

That said, local folks should note we'll finish with the detour in place, and we'll have to come back with a separate project to build the originally planned northbound lanes.

Questions about the relocation of the USPS building should be directed to Sandra A. Rybicki, Real Estate Specialist for the U.S. Postal Service. Her email address is

Hwy 39 Ingram

About two weeks ago, our area engineer in Kerrville reported to the Ingram City Council regarding the progress Relmco Construction is making on Highway 39. Here are his notes from that report:

Material is being removed from the Loop Road. No more material will be stockpiled in this area.

We have stepped up dust control along the project. Water truck is on project and is shooting water to help with dust. (This is an issue we deal with on each of our projects, and it's often difficult to balance the need to keep dust down with the need to conserve water in the middle of a major drought....)

We are going to install some temporary paving on the Loop to improve aesthetics and help with dust and tracking of material. 

Last month was the first month for a while the contractor did not fall further behind schedule. We are looking at hurrying along some of the paving work west of the Johnson Creek Bridge to get this area done before school and the arts and crafts fair.

I-10 frontage road - Seguin

This is a project that is entirely funded - that's 100 percent! - by non-TxDOT funds. A private developer fronted some money, as did the economic development group in Seguin, to build a frontage road between Hwy 46 and FM 464 on the west end of Seguin.

The project continues to move forward on schedule, and should wrap up by the end of summer.