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Friday, March 27

Next week's construction-related closures



I-10
  • Friday-Monday, March 27-30. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close, two lanes at a time, while crews restripe the road and shift traffic to its final configuration.
  • Friday-Monday, March 27-30. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Saturday, March 28. 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Westbound main lanes between Roland Avenue and Pine Street (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road. This closure will result in the long-term closure of the Gevers Road exit and will reopen the Pine Street exit. Traffic headed to Gevers Road will exit Pine Street and turn around.
  • Sunday-Monday, March 29-30.  9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Westbound main lanes between Roland Avenue and Pine Street (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road. This closure will result in the long-term closure of the Gevers Road exit and will reopen the Pine Street exit. Traffic headed to Gevers Road will exit Pine Street and turn around.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
I-35
  • Saturday-Sunday, March 28-29. 11 p.m. until 3 p.m. Southbound main lanes between Eisenhauer and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move the southbound main lanes to a final configuration. This work will result in the exit ramp to southbound I-410 being permanently moved to the right side of the road.
  • Sunday, March 29. 3 a.m. until 11 a.m. Northbound main lanes between George Beach and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews work on a new overhead sign board mount.
  • Sunday, March 29. 3 p.m. Southbound connector to southbound I-410 (northeast San Antonio). The ramp will be permanently moved to the right side of the road. Drivers should remain alert and attentive regarding this major traffic change.
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Splashtown and Binz-Engleman (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews set up temporary light poles.
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Binz-Engleman and Shipman Drive (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews set up temporary light poles.
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Salado Creek (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews set up temporary light poles.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Rittiman Road and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Fratt Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound exit ramp to westbound I-410 (Windcrest). The right lanes will close while crews place guardrail and do concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between George Beach and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do roadwork.
I-410
  • Sunday, March 29. 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. Eastbound exit ramp to northbound I-35 (Windcrest). The right lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (northeast San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Space Center and move through the Rittiman Road intersection, then enter the northbound I-35 main lanes.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 29-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Binz-Engleman and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close to provide access for trucking and to move barrier.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 30-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Wurzbach Parkway and Nakoma Drive (north-central San Antonio). The two right lanes will close while crews repair barrier and crash cushions.
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 30-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound exit to Bitters Road (north-central San Antonio). The left lane of the exit ramp will close while crews rebuild a crash cushion.
Loop 1604
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between Bandera Road and Culebra Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close as needed for survey work.
  • Monday, March 30. 9 a.m. Turnarounds, both directions, at Braun Road (northwest San Antonio). The turnarounds will close for a month while crews build bridge support columns. Traffic will move through the intersection to turn around.
Other roads
  • Monday, March 30. 9 a.m. Walnut Avenue, both directions, between Floral and Wood avenues (New Braunfels). All lanes will close for a month while crews build a drain inlet. Local traffic will have access to businesses on this block via Lockner and Howard roads.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 30-April 2. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound U.S. Highway 181 between Old Corpus Christi Highway and Loop 1604 (southeast Bexar County). The left lane will close while crews repair cable median barrier.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 30-April 2. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound U.S. Highway 181 between South Presa and Max Road (southeast Bexar County). The left lane will close while crews repair cable median barrier.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 30-April 2. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Medical Drive, both directions, between Ewing Halsell and Fairhaven (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 30-April 2. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road, both directions, between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 30-April 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Ralph Fair Road between Old Fredericksburg Road and I-10 (Fair Oaks Ranch). Alternating lanes will close while crews rebuild the intersections.
All closures are pending weather.

Tuesday, March 24

For #NWZAW: Major construction zones for this weekend

It's National Work Zone Awareness Week (#NWZAW) for the transportation industry, and hopefully you're seeing some of the talk about work zone safety on your social media news feeds, on billboards during your commute or on the television. Hey, you might even be hearing about it on the radio.

The bottom line is this: the roads you drive on each day are our offices. Can you imagine a steady stream of 50- or 60- or 70-miles-per-hour traffic along the corridor between your cubicle and the water cooler at your office? That's what our guys experience. Every. Single. Day.

That's why we ask you to slow down when you're driving through a work zone. That's our office, and we'd like to go home safely each day.

Three of our "offices" will be of particular concern this weekend. Here we get to the meat of this post - a pair of major closures that will yield major traffic shifts in San Antonio.

I-35

We will have all lanes of southbound I-35 closed between Rittiman Road and George Beach Saturday night and through Sunday morning. This will allow crews to move barrier and restripe the main lanes to follow the new permanent southbound main lanes of I-35.

The new lanes of I-35 are shifted significantly, allowing traffic to southbound I-410 to begin exiting to the right side of the road. In this area, many trucks coming from Rittiman Road sweep across several lanes of traffic to reach the old ramp. These trucks will have access to the new right-side ramp directly from Rittiman, helping to keep the flow of traffic on southbound I-35 flowing.

I-10 (northwest SA)

Beginning Friday night, all but one eastbound lane of I-10 will close between UTSA Blvd and Huebner Rd while crews restripe the road. This closure includes an alternating rotation of exit and entrance ramps. All lanes will reopen in time for Monday's morning commute.

On the frontage roads we will have officers directing traffic at the intersection of DeZavala Road. Expect delays on DeZavala as officers will likely give priority to the I-10 traffic.

If this is your planned travel area, you may wish to add a solid half hour to your travel plans. When the work is finished, the main lanes will open up to five full lanes plus an auxiliary lane over DeZavala.

I-10 (east SA)

Over on the east side of San Antonio, just east of downtown, we'll have a day-long closure Saturday on the westbound main lanes of I-10 between Roland Avenue and Pine Street. The right lane will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road.

That work will begin 7 a.m. Saturday and will wrap up by 7 p.m., and again Sunday night at 9 until 5:30 a.m. Monday.

Why all at once?

We get the question often enough, we may as well answer the question now: Why in the world would we schedule so many major closures across the city at the same time?

The answer: With the holidays and events in line for the month of April, failure to perform the traffic shifts scheduled for this weekend would mean pushing this work back until May. That would delay these projects a full month.

Some of the work we're doing this weekend was indeed scheduled for earlier weekends, but was pushed back because of weather. So ... here we are. We are faced with tough decisions, but this is the most responsible course to take in order to provide the congestion relief drivers in these areas are clamoring for. 

Friday, March 20

Next week's construction-related closures



I-10
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 23-27. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Friday-Monday, March 27-30. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close, two lanes at a time, while crews restripe the road and shift traffic to its final configuration.
  • Friday-Monday, March 27-30. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35
  • Monday-Friday, March 23-27. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Splashtown and Binz-Engleman (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews set up temporary light poles.
  • Monday-Friday, March 23-27. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Binz-Engleman and Seguin roads (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews set up temporary light poles.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Rittiman and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nighty. Southbound frontage road between Rittiman Road and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Rittiman Road and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Fratt Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound exit ramp to westbound I-410 (Windcrest). The right lanes will close while crews place guardrail and do concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between George Beach and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do roadwork.
  • Tuesday-Friday, March 24-27. 8 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between FM 306 and Conrads-Kohlenberg Road (north New Braunfels). The two right lanes will close while crews move barrier and lay asphalt to open the new entrance ramp from FM 306.
  • Tuesday-Friday, March 24-27. 8 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Conrads-Kohlenberg Road and FM 306 (north New Braunfels). The right lane will close while crews place barrier.
I-410
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily. Eastbound exit ramp to northbound I-35 (Windcrest). The right lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (northeast San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Space Center and move through the Rittiman Road intersection, then enter the northbound I-35 main lanes.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 22-27. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Binz-Engleman and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close to provide access for trucking and to move barrier.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Wednesday-Friday, March 25-27. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between I-410 and Hildebrand (north-central San Antonio). Three right lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Friday-Sunday, March 27-29. 8 p.m. until 10 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Hildebrand and I-410 (north-central San Antonio). Alternating lanes, three at a time, will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Sunday-Monday, March 29-30. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Hildebrand and I-410 (north-central San Antonio). Alternating lanes, three at a time, will close while crews repair the roadway.
Other roads
  • Monday-Monday, March 9-30. 8 a.m-5 p.m. continuous. Alameda Street, both directions, at Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). All lanes will close for three weeks while crews build the roadway. Traffic will reach Alameda Street off of Braun Road.
  • Monday, March 23. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Highway 46, both directions, at Business 87 (Boerne). Alternating lanes will close while crews reset barrier. Traffic will be intermittently halted for this work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 23-27. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound U.S. Highway 181 between Loop 1604 and Flying R Ranch Road (southeast Bexar County). The left lane will close while crews repair cable median barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, March 23-27. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound U.S. Highway 181 between South Presa and Max Road (southeast Bexar County). The left lane will close while crews repair cable median barrier.
  • Monday-Monday, March 23-30. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Medical Drive, both directions, between Ewing Halsell and Fairhaven (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Monday, March 23-30. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road, both directions, between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, March 18

I-10 closures postponed

The major closures scheduled this weekend for eastbound I-10 around DeZavala have been postponed because crews were not available to do the necessary work. The decision was finalized earlier today as TxDOT leaders discussed communication from Webber Construction regarding the upcoming work.

While no new closure dates have been set, project managers are hoping to implement the closures and complete the work on eastbound I-10 over DeZavala next weekend (March 27-30). That is still to be determined, however. We should know for sure by Tuesday.

This project should only require two major closures between now and its completion this summer. The first is for the upcoming work on the eastbound main lanes over DeZavala, which will open up the main lanes to final configuration with five lanes plus the auxiliary lane. The entrance and exit ramps will also be put into final configurations (impacting the eastbound entrance from UTSA Boulavard and the exit to Fredericksburg Road).

The second piece of work will resurface the eastbound main lanes bridge deck over Fredericksburg Road. That bridge deck, which had some major repairs done earlier in the project, features a ride quality that doesn't meet specifications. That issue will be addressed, requiring a weekend's worth of closures - which will come as soon as May, if work progresses appropriately.

No major closures will be scheduled on this segment of I-10 (or any other major corridor) during the month of April due to high traffic volumes associated with Easter weekend and Fiesta.

Saturday, March 14

Comal County roundup

If anyone else thinks it been far too long since a run-down on Comal County projects has been posted, well ... so did we. Without further ado:

Walnut Avenue

If you've not heard by now, Walnut Avenue will close between Grandview and Floral for the remainder of the year. This is  more than the daily closures drivers have been seeing with the ongoing utility work that's progressed to the top of the hill. That closure has pushed traffic onto Fredericksburg Road to get around; our detour suggests using Landa Street to Loop 337.

Of course, local residential and business access will be maintained; you'll still be able to reach those businesses along Walnut. Through traffic will be restricted, however.

With the road closed, Dean Word Company will have more open access to widen the road through the canyon portion of this project. There they are building a huge retaining wall on the downhill side of the road, which they'll then backfill with tons (literally!) of dirt. It's called a "mechanically stabilized earth" wall, and will hold up the additional width of the roadway.
This diagram, published by cenews.com, shows how a mechanically stabilized earth wall works. An MSE wall will hold up the expansion portion of Walnut Avenue through the canyon between Grandview and Floral.
Loop 337

The expansion of the bridge over I-35 at Loop 337/Rueckle Road is within a week of being finished and all lanes in use. An elevation issue (of only an inch or two - which is a bigger deal than it sounds like) between the old turnaround bridge and the existing bridge prevented us from opening it when we had hoped a cuople of months ago.

With the specialized crews on site to make appropriate adjustment, we're only a matter of days from having traffic on all lanes of the bridge.

I-35 ramps between FM 306 and Conrads-Kohlenberg

About five months ago, Dan Williams Company began reversing the ramps between FM 306 and Conrads-Kohlenberg. Basically, that means the entrance ramps will be switched to exit ramps, and the exit ramps to entrance ramps.

Crews will be ready for the first big move on this work next weekend. For more, watch the video:


FM 306

At this point, it's almost all bridge work that remains. We've got crews pouring concrete at the overpass near Hunter Road, mainly to form the approach slabs for the bridge deck. Meanwhile, on the overpass near Goodwin Lane, we're preparing to pour the bridge deck itself. We still have a lot of curb work and a median to build, then we'll need to finish tying the second halves of the bridges into the halves that are already constructed.

Hunter Industries wants to be finished with the project by the end of the school year - still ahead of schedule, though later than they'd have initially liked to be finished when work began in 2013.

FM 1101

We are still waiting for utility adjustments to be complete before turning loose Hunter Industries on this project to widen FM 1101 between Hwy 46 and FM 306. This expansion will include a center left-turn lane, sidewalks and a larger shoulder area for safe bicycling.

As of now, crews are expected to be able to start work in April. 

Friday, March 13

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10
  • Saturday-Sunday, March 14-15. 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Eastbound main lanes between Pine Street and Roland Avenue (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Huebner Road and UTSA Boulevard (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, March 16-20. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Tuesday, March 16-17. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Pine Street and Roland Avenue (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews move barrier and stripe the road.
  • Tuesday, March 17. 7 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Pine Street and South Walters Street (east San Antonio). The westbound exit ramp to Gevers Street and New Braunfels Avenue will, and the eastbound entrance ramp from Gevers Street will close, while crews reconstruct the road. Westbound drivers will exit Pine Street and turn around to reach their destination. Eastbound drivers will turn around at Gevers, go back to Pine Street, turn around and use the Pine Street entrance ramp. All ramps will re-open by early summer.
  • Friday-Monday, March 20-23. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound main lanes between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close, two lanes at a time, while crews restripe the road and shift traffic to its final configuration.
  • Friday-Monday, March 20-23. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Eastbound frontage road between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35
  • Monday-Friday, March 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Fratt Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Rittiman and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Rittiman Road and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Monday-Friday, March 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Rittiman Road and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Monday-Friday, March 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound exit ramp to westbound I-410 (Windcrest). The right lanes will close while crews place guardrail and do concrete work.
  • Friday-Saturday, March 20-21. 8 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. continuous. Northbound main lanes between FM 306 and Conrads-Kohlenberg Road (north New Braunfels). The two right lanes will close while crews move barrier and lay asphalt to open the new entrance ramp from FM 306.
  • Friday-Saturday, March 20-21. 8 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. continuous. Southbound main lanes between Conrads-Kohlenberg Road and FM 306 (north New Braunfels). The right lane will close while crews place barrier.
I-410
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily. Eastbound exit ramp to northbound I-35 (Windcrest). The right lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (northeast San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Space Center and move through the Rittiman Road intersection, then enter the northbound I-35 main lanes.
  • Monday-Friday, March 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Binz-Engleman and Rittiman Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close to provide access for trucking and to move barrier.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Friday-Monday, March 13-16. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. Southbound main lanes between Jones-Maltsberger and Hildebrand (north-central San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.
  • Friday-Saturday, March 13-14. 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. Southbound frontage road between Nakoma and Rhapsody (north-central San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews pour concrete.
  • Saturday-Monday, March 14-16. 4 a.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. Southbound main lanes between Bitters Road and Nakoma Drive (north-central San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier and shift traffic, opening a new exit ramp for Nakoma Drive. Traffic will exit Bitters Road, continue through the intersections of Bitters and Nakoma, then re-enter the highway.
Other roads
  • Monday-Monday, March 9-30. 8 a.m-5 p.m. continuous. Alameda Street, both directions, at Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). All lanes will close for three weeks while crews build the roadway. Traffic will reach Alameda Street off of Braun Road.
  • Friday-Monday, March 13-16. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. Medical Drive, both directions, between Ewing Halsell and Fredericksburg Road (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for concrete work.
  • Monday-Monday, March 16-23. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Medical Drive, both directions, between Ewing Halsell and Fairhaven (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Monday, March 16-23. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road, both directions, between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Tuesday, March 17. 7 a.m. Walnut Avenue, both directions, between Grandview and Floral (city of New Braunfels). All lanes will close through the end of the year while crews rebuild and expand the road. Traffic will use Landa Street and Loop 337 to get around the closure.
All closures are pending weather.

Potholes - the what, why and how

Monday morning's commute was jarred for many by a rash of potholes that cropped up on I-35 near Rittiman Road, and potholes in other areas have generated some attention and interest.

For those who've made their home in south-central Texas all their lives, potholes aren't a normal part of life. Those who've lived abroad - especially the northern areas of Not Texas - know potholes happen frequently this time of year as temperatures fluctuate. For those not accustomed to potholes, this is a description of what they are, how they form, why it takes a while to properly repair them and what can be done about hitting them.

In order to help folks understand more about potholes, we've reached out to a pavement expert (he wanted to be referred to as a "Pavement Buttress", which apparently is funny if you're an engineer) in our local district asphalt and materials lab to discuss the in's and out's of potholes. Here's the Q-and-A:

Go Ahead! Blog: How do potholes form – what causes them?

Pavement Buttress: Potholes we are most accustomed to are formed by fatigue (cracking) of the road surface. As fatigue fractures develop into what is known as alligator cracking, chunks of pavement between the alligator cracks are worked loose and eventually picked out of the surface by continued traffic loads. This is what we see in areas with heavier truck traffic, at least.
This graphic, published in 2013 by the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, shows how most of the potholes drivers are experiencing in the metro areas have formed.
GA: Why does it seem like we’ve had so many potholes spring up lately?

PB: Potholes become more widespread during San Antonio’s winter months, due to increased precipitation and increasing the brittleness of the asphalt on many roadways. However, annual ratings of the San Antonio District’s 11,000+ lane miles of roadways has stayed fairly consistent, with areas in the energy sector corridor (Atascosa, Frio, Guadalupe, McMullen and Wilson counties) being a well-documented exception. In these areas, numerous projects are planned or underway to repair the road and the in-house maintenance forces are working as diligently as possible to keep up with the issues.

GA: What does it take to repair the potholes?

PB: It depends. If there are a few spot locations, in-house state maintenance forces will address the potholes by filling with patching material. Patching material can be kept in containers, in bags, or stockpiled as an open pile. In all of these cases the patching material is easily portable in standard pick-up trucks. It is applied by filling the pothole, and tamping it in place (often by simply rolling over the filled pothole with a truck) to create as smooth of a surface as possible.

If the potholes are more severe, repair could require milling off multiple inches of the pavement and relaying with stockpiled patching material, cold-mixed bituminous material, or even laying hot mix asphalt.
This stock photo from an asphalt company shows crews milling away several layers of asphalt, probably to repair the road.
There are also times when the potholes are so severe that rehabilitation or reconstruction of the roadway could be necessary. This would require putting out a project to bid.

GA: How long does TxDOT let a pothole sit before we repair it?

PB: TxDOT in-house maintenance forces are available should a roadway concern arise. There is no set time frame on how long TxDOT may wait before addressing a pothole. TxDOT’s maintenance forces maintain a constant supply of patching material on-hand to address any potholes as they arise.

Note: TxDOT leaders have determined that using state resources to patrol all 11,000 miles of highway within the district isn't the best use of state resources or tax money - especially when those resources can be dedicated elsewhere. However, it's a district policy that a TxDOT employee should report a pothole observed, whether the employee is driving on their own time or as part of their normal course of duties. Once a report is received, crews are dispatched to address the issue. TxDOT also depends on road users to report these problems so they may be addressed appropriately.

GA: Why does it seem like these repairs don’t really hold up for very long?

PB: Many pothole repairs have actually lasted multiple years. In cases where there truly are potholes in constant need of repair a simple “fill the hole” approach (described above) may not be the right solution. In these cases the pothole is more a symptom of a larger problem. For example, if the existing soil is so weak that it cannot support the traffic on the roadway, then patching the pothole will only mask the problem. However, TxDOT often needs to use a temporary fix - a Band-Aid of sorts - until a more lasting fix can be done. While an in-house patch may not fix the problem it will provide a safer roadway to drive on until a better solution is possible. Also, an exposed pothole is a conduit for moisture to enter into the soil, make it weaker, and make the pothole worse.
Highway crews in California fill in potholes as a temporary measure until a long-term fix can be done. This photo comes from the California Department of Transportation.
Many in-house patches are methods for TxDOT to hold a pavement together until the appropriate construction project can be developed and implemented. These projects require clear, dry weather for a stretch of several days, or the project will be nullified by the wet and less-stable material.

GA: What can be done to provide a more lasting fix for the potholes we’re seeing?

PB: TxDOT is, and has been, a national leader in innovative techniques and materials. Because of TxDOT efforts pothole repair materials have actually gotten better over time. For example, historically patching material was only able to be obtained in bags or containers to keep light-end oils in the material allowing it to stay workable. Through partnerships within the industry, TxDOT has developed a patching material that can be stockpiled for 6 months and still maintain its workability. This has enable larger patches to be addressed and perform longer.

GA: Is there a roadway material we can use that won’t see potholes? If so, why aren’t we using it?

PB: Any material used on a highway will ultimately encounter varying environmental, traffic, and construction impacts - all of which can have an impact on the roadway’s ability to resist potholes. Unfortunately, because each one of these elements is very dynamic, it’s virtually impossible to prevent all the variables from never causing a pothole.

There are materials and pavement structures that are more resistant to the formation of potholes than traditional asphalt, but TxDOT has a responsibility to taxpayers to ensure all roadways are engineered to provide an adequate functional performance. In addition to potholes, TxDOT evaluates rutting, longitudinal cracking, alligator cracking, spalling, and punchouts. Functional characteristics can include smoothness, raveling (what folks have seen through February on U.S. 281 near Hildebrand), and flushing. Each one of these characteristics are considered along with the amount of traffic, weights, and environment to develop a pavement system that will function accordingly. To only design a road to account for potholes is not sufficient.
Continually reinforced concrete roadways are one option to reduce pothole occurrence, but they are too costly to be feasible in south-central Texas.
In addition, if TxDOT were only to select materials that were highly resistant to potholes, a fiscal inequity would develop. For example, continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) may be considered a material that is more resistant to potholes than a thin layer of asphalt and rock (seal coat), but because CRCPs unit price and quantities are so much higher than a seal coat it is difficult to justify and prevent other roadways from being maintained or expanded.
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