Friday, December 19

Walnut Hill project to start

Dean Word Company will begin setting up barricades and clearing the right-of-way Monday, December 21, on the Walnut Hill project in New Braunfels.

The $12.7 million project expands Walnut Avenue between Kerlick Lane and Landa Street to a five-lane road with two lanes in each direction and a center-left turn lane. The turn lane will only cover portions of that segment, but the portions involved are significant. Sidewalks and bike lanes will also be added.

We expect to have all the work finished mid-2016.

New Braunfels Utilities have been working hard to get utilities moved out of the way, and have been successful. All publicly owned aerial lines are moved as needed (a few private communication lines owned by the likes of Time Warner Cable or AT&T remain in the way) and crews are working on sewer and water lines. The underground lines will be moved by May.

Typically we don't like to have projects get underway without the utilities moved out of the way. However, because of some federal regulations regarding trees with migratory bird nests, we need to have trees and other potential nesting areas moved out of the way as needed before February 15. Over the next few weeks this removal and project clearing is the work that will be done.

The problem is, beyond the clearing work, we don't have a whole lot of areas in which to work. Clearing work will take about two weeks - maybe a little more - and Dean Word's work will be done. Again, the importance is getting the right-of-way cleared and setting up environmental controls for the work zone. 

Expect daily lane closures that may reduce traffic to one-way mid-day, with a flagger controlling traffic. Hours of closures are limited to between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. These closures will happen all but Thursday (Christmas) and Friday next week and almost every day the week after.

Once that's done, Dean Word will need to wait for some NBU work to be able to move forward with other activities. One such activity is a drain structure near the Wells Fargo building that's posing a particular challenge. Project personnel are discussing a way to get that drain structure built without imposing on the NBU work in the area. NBU work will require major closures, and it doesn't look like our work can move simultaneously.

More on the work on the drain structure will come as details are hammered out.