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Thursday, December 4

The future of Ralph Fair Road and I-10

Sundt Construction was able to have the Ralph Fair Road overpass reopened to traffic by 1:30 this morning - well in time for the morning traffic rush and a few hours ahead of the promised deadline. Kudos to the hard workers with Sundt for meeting that aggressive deadline.

When they had things opened, though, some confusion abounded. That confusion comes from a couple of sources - partially the morning fog that engulfed the area, and particularly from the lack of understanding of the new configuration of traffic with the bridge reopened. This post is intended to let everyone know what to expect on or around Ralph Fair Road for the next several months - at least until Spring Break.

First, a brief report of what was accomplished with that one-day closure of the bridge: traffic was moved over onto a portion of the new bridge, allowing crews to demolish the old bridge (that's happening this weekend ... more on that in a moment). We were also able to get some temporary asphalt laid down to make smooth transitions for traffic onto and off of the bridge.

Now that we have things in order, here's the tricky part of what traffic will look like for the next few months: traffic on the bridge in either direction will not be able to turn right. While the conversion of the frontage roads to one-way is permanent between Ralph Fair Road and Boerne Stage Road, we've got a temporary conversion of frontage road between Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway (well, a few hundred feet of that span, anyway) in place. Here's a look (I recommend you click on the picture to see an enlarged copy of it):
The traffic configuration, with the one-way frontage road immediately west of Ralph Fair Road, allows an area for construction activities as Sundt builds the remaining sections of the bridge. Once the bridge is in place - or most of the bridge, at least - we'll shift the one-way lanes west of the intersection to work on the driveway side of the frontage roads.

When we're ready for final configuration, we'll go ahead and give the two-way frontage road back. For now, at least.

The long view

This project is one of at least five that will take place between Dominion Drive and Fair Oaks Parkway over the next 4-5 years. We're on pace to finish this project by mid-2015, the initial target date. That means we're almost exactly on pace, which is great news.

The other projects in this area will complete the conversion of frontage roads to one-way, all the way to Fair Oaks Ranch. Early next year work will begin on the conversion of frontage roads between Boerne Stage Road and Dominion Drive. That work, which includes construction of a new eastbound frontage road that will split off from Old Fredericksburg Road through Leon Springs, will take about a year and a half to complete.

We are currently working out plans for the conversion of frontage roads between Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway. We expect that work to begin no later than 2016. In the meantime, we've got a $20 million project to create an overpass at Old Fredericksburg Road, about halfway between Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway. Finally, we've got plans to replace the Fair Oaks Parkway bridge, similar to what we're doing at Ralph Fair Road (we're exploring methods to make that project shorter, though - lessons learned from the current job).

All told, that means this area will experience road construction fairly constantly through at least 2018, and likely until 2019. We know that's rough ... but the area continues to expand with a slew of residential developments going up right now and major retail centers on the immediate horizon.

This weekend

You're likely aware of (and might have called us about) work planned this weekend on I-10. That work is on and will probably impact your weekend travel plans if you're planning on moving through the Ralph Fair Road area.

Beginning Friday at 9 p.m. we will close all main lanes on I-10 at Ralph Fair Road. Traffic will exit Ralph Fair Road and re-enter the highway immediately after the intersection. Sundt will have the highway reopened by Monday at 5 a.m. Expect the highway to be closed through the whole weekend.

In order to provide a constant flow of traffic at the intersections and move I-10 traffic along, we will also close Ralph Fair Road between Old Fredericksburg Road and I-10. Traffic on Ralph Fair Road will use Old Fredericksburg Road to reach Boerne Stage Road or Fair Oaks Parkway.

Local business traffic need only indicate to officers an intention to reach a specific business at the intersection of I-10 and Ralph Fair Road to reach its destination.

The closure will allow Sundt to demolish the old bridge, making room for the new bridge. Over the next several weeks crews will be working on the bridge support structures, and by February should be ready to set bridge support beams. Those beams will require another closure, meaning folks should expect the next major closure in about 8 weeks (if everything goes right).
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