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.|
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:
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.
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.