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Friday, December 19

Work over the week of Christmas

Well, first of all, Chanukuh  sema'ech. To those who observe it, happy Festival of Lights!

It's no secret traffic volumes increase substantially during the week before and after Christmas, particularly over the weekends book-ending the year's biggest holiday.

With that in mind - and knowing how many will be on the road to visit loved ones, check out festively lit neighborhoods or doing some last-minute shopping - we've got a few pointers regarding the road construction activity and closures planned over the next week (and, in a few cases, beyond). Keep in mind, if you would, that we only cover 12 counties in Texas. If you're looking for info elsewhere in the state, try our state-wide highway conditions map.

Anyway, here's what's happening in our district, county by county:

Atascosa: 
We have an active construction project on Texas Hwy 97 between the Atascosa-Wilson county line and Pleasanton. That project has reduced the active travel lanes to a single lane, using one-way traffic control - particularly on the eastern section of the project. This work zone traffic control is long-term and will, indeed, remain in place during the Christmas week. Construction in the area will be limited, however, with crews staying home at most of the next week and portions of the week of New Years.

Bandera:
No major projects will be interrupting traffic over the course of the next two weeks; maintenance crews will continue to work as needed, but will limit closures through the new year.

Bexar:
First of all, we will have no closures of I-10 at Ralph Fair Road through the rest of the year (and, honestly, into the first part of 2015). The project will actually shut down between December 24 and January 1, allowing a full week of unencumbered traffic flow in the Ralph Fair Road area. And, since Sundt Construction returned the I-10 frontage roads immediately west of the Ralph Fair Road intersection to two-way earlier this week, traffic flow should be back to "normal" in the area.

We'll also have some closures on DeZavala Road and the frontage roads of I-10 at the DeZavala intersection overnight Sunday (into Monday morning), but we should otherwise be clear in the area. Keep in mind - and remind those traveling - the westbound exit to UTSA Boulevard is closed. People may use either the DeZavala Road exit and travel the frontage road through the DeZavala intersection, or they may exit at Loop 1604 and turn around to reach UTSA Boulevard.

All major projects will continue operating until December 24, when many will shut down through January 1. Crews working on the Fred-Med project, for instance, will break from the project December 24 through January 4.

Travelers should keep in mind the major project areas: I-35 between George Beach and Windcrest; I-10 between Huebner Rd and Lp 1604; Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads; Loop 1604 between Graytown Rd and I-10 on the east side of Bexar County; U.S. 281 between Nakoma Drive and Bitters Road; Fredericksburg Road at Medical Drive; Wurzbach Parkway.

Again, we have no planned lane closures for the next week beyond what's included above.

Comal:
Besides the private developer work in the Bulverde area Sunday and Monday, no closures will occur for the next two weeks. We will continue work on FM 306, along I-35 and on U.S. 281 (and elsewhere), but we won't be blocking any lanes. Still, any friends or family visiting from out of town should know about the work zones to be sure they're paying attention when they drive through.

Well, that's the case for the major highways, at least. On Walnut Avenue - the "Walnut Hill" project - we will see some closures related to the ongoing utlities adjustments. Dean Word Construction will also begin clearing the roadway between Kerlick and Landa ... meaning they'll likely have some daytime (and overnight) closures along the roadway. That will occur Monday and Tuesday, but not likely beyond that through the week.

Frio:
Much like in Atascosa County, we've got an active project on FM 1582 between Pearsall and Texas Hwy 85. This project, like the work in Atascosa County, just began - we're about two months or so into work on the project and have some sections of one-way traffic control in place. Work crews may not be on site through the week, as they'll be at home with their own families.

Guadalupe:
No major projects will be interrupting traffic over the course of the next two weeks; maintenance crews will continue to work as needed, but will limit closures through the new year. 


Kendall:
The project on Hwy 46 near Esser Road will be inactive December 23 through January 5. The current traffic configuration will remain through the Christmas holiday, as that is a long-term set-up, but we won't have much in the way of work to interrupt traffic over the next couple of weeks. We will, at the behest of several local residents, keep an eye on the signal timing at Hwy 46 and Esser to make sure we've got traffic flowing in all directions at an optimal pace.

Kerr:
Allen Keller, the contractor expanding Hwy 16 from the north end of Kerrville to the Gillespie County line, will take off between December 23 and January 5 and no work will be done on the project during that time. The work zone will remain set up, but traffic shouldn't expect any abnormal delays.

Work will also slow to a minimum on Hwy 39 through Ingram over the next two weeks, though crews should have the project area cleaned up enough to allow traffic to flow without any major troubles.

Traffic headed through Hunt will find a one-way bridge, however, at the Hunt Crossing bridge. We are expanding the bridge and have it limited to a single lane long-term and won't have it back to two lanes until the project is finished. Temporary signals are in place to keep traffic appropriately moving, but newcomers to the area should be aware.

McMullen:
Though maintenance crews will continue to do their work as normal, we don't have any major construction closures in place. Drivers should be aware of a construction zone along Hwy 97 in the northwest corner of the county. Though work will be minimal over the next two weeks, the construction zone has been set up and drivers should be aware of it.

Medina: 
No major projects will be interrupting traffic over the course of the next two weeks; maintenance crews will continue to work as needed, but will limit closures through the new year.
Uvalde: 
No major projects will be interrupting traffic over the course of the next two weeks; maintenance crews will continue to work as needed, but will limit closures through the new year.

Wilson: 
No major projects will be interrupting traffic over the course of the next two weeks; maintenance crews will continue to work as needed, but will limit closures through the new year.

Final word:
No matter where you'll be driving, the largest hazards to your travels are within the cars themselves. These are hazards you can help us keep off the road. The first is the notion that somehow yet prevails that it's OK to drive drunk. This thought is as ridiculous as it is selfish. And, since this is the season of selflessness, we suggest you give the gift of a sober ride - the best gift of all.

The other thing to be aware of is your cell phone or other electronic devices. Drivers, let your "navigators" do the navigating and keep your own eyes on the road. This holiday season, make a commitment for your loved ones to put your phone away while you're driving - and make it a lasting habit.

Be safe - drive smart!
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