Tuesday, December 2

Comal County roundup

One of the adverse effects of holiday-shortened months and having a lot going on elsewhere is an utter lack of updates on project in outlying areas. In this case, the several major projects in Comal County - particularly around New Braunfels - have been moving right along and we need to tell you about it.

FM 306

Last week, just before Thanksgiving, Hunter Industries set bridge support beams over the railroad crossing near Hunter Road to form the backbone for the eastbound bridge, then reworked the intersection at Hunter Road.

While this meant a minor traffic nuisance for the two days crews were out there, it marks another major step toward getting finished with the project overall. Hunter's plan is to have the Hunter Road crossing finished first, though crews will continue working on the overpass at Goodwin as well. Once the overpass near Hunter Road is finished focus will shift to the Goodwin overpass.

The hope is to have the overpass near Hunter Road finished and in use around the New Year, and to have the overpass near Goodwin Lane finished near the end of the school year. Overall project completion is scheduled before the end of the school year.

Loop 337

Another Hunter Industries project, we're falling victim to weather right now. If Hunter Industries had their way, we'd be finished with everything by now ... but cold temperatures and wet weather (much-needed wet weather!) has dampened our ability to lay asphalt and paint the roadway.

Crews were scheduled to do the last bit of asphalt and all the roadway striping last week, but weather pushed that work back. As soon as we get a stretch of weather that's warm enough and dry enough to finish things out, we'll do that.

Again, we were hoping to have the project finished by now (even though we have until January to finish up), and we're trying to have the work done very soon.

I-35 ramps

The project to reverse the entrance and exit ramps between Conrads-Kohlenberg and FM 306 is underway, with Dan Williams Company working already to construct the new northbound ramps. The overall plan is to develop the northbound side first, then move over to the southbound side. Each side should take about six months.

This project is one of our top generators of emails right now - there are several who seem concerned about the length of the northbound entrance ramp from FM 306. The barricade set up in the shoulder area has taken away the shoulder, which was being improperly used by traffic as a defacto acceleration lane.

Here's the thing: entrance ramps are actually designed so that traffic can get to appropriate highway speeds before reaching the lanes of the highway. Ramps are designed to help accelerate - they are acceleration lanes, in and of themselves. 

But that's not how they're being treated. 

At any rate, folks believe a safety hazard exists so we have our engineers digging through options. We've got four options being examined, and we hope to have settled on one of those four by the end of the week.

Walnut Avenue

Right now the work on Walnut Avenue, between Kerlick and Landa, is being done by NBU and is all utilities work. NBU reported this morning they are on schedule to finish their work by the start of summer. TxDOT work will begin early 2015.

FM 1101

Right now this one is all utilities. Specifically, a certain telephone company has lines in the way and we're waiting for them to move out of the way. Hopefully those lines may be moved before we get started (early 2015) so we don't encounter any delays.

US 281 turnarounds

Nearly a year ago we gave the go-ahead to CRG to begin constructing turnarounds on U.S. 281 at Hwy 46. Almost immediately after setting up the work area, CRG realized they wouldn't be able to construct the project the way they had bid it. They halted work and began acquiring the resources (including equipment and personnel) to construct the project the way we designed it.

That process was lengthy ... and CRG went back to work just this fall. As of the end of November they've finished about half the work scheduled for the project, and they are on target to finish the work before the end of the school year.

As for the delays, those are being appropriately handled between the contractor and our area office.