This project wrapped up about a week ago, and all that's left is paperwork and what we call a "punch list". For the purposes of those routinely driving through the area, the project is complete and finished. We're glad to have that extra lane on I-35 between FM 3009 and Loop 1604; it seems to be doing its job thus far!
Hunter Industries has removed some of the overhang materials from the overpass and their electrical subcontractor is nearly finished with the new signal poles at I-35 and Rueckle Road. That means most of the work on the bridge itself - we removed a bridge rail and a center median - is wrapping up. We have plenty of paving work left to do, though, with an entire half of a roadway left to be built.
That road work should begin in the next week or two, with traffic shifting over onto the new asphalt to allow the room to do what needs to be done.
Right now we're on pace to finish up by Halloween - roughly three months ahead of schedule.
Next week - August 27 - we will join the city of New Braunfels and the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce to christen the newly completed underpass expansion on Seguin Avenue.
This is a project that's taken nearly 30 years to complete. Most of that time was spent planning and coordinating between agencies, and just under two years was spent in actual construction. The old underpass, built in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration plan to fund road projects in order to provide local jobs to those struggling through the Great Depression, was just two lanes wide. Growth over the last 70 years has made the expansion of the underpass a must, and local leaders saw the need as early as the 1980s.
In an ironic twist of fate, the same company contracted to build the original underpass in 1935 was hired to construct the new one. Austin Bridge Company preserved the stone that made up the hand-set retaining walls in order to use that stone as a facade on the new retaining walls, keeping the historic feel of the original project.
In addition to the historic feel, the new underpass features four lanes, a drastically improved drain structure and sidewalks for folks traveling by foot or by bicycle. All features were opened up earlier this month.
U.S. Highway 281