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Wednesday, April 29

Parkway progress

The next major closure - and almost (almost) the last - has been scheduled to help advance the Wurzbach Parkway project, and traffic along U.S. 281 near the airport will be heaviest hit.

May 9-10, a Saturday and Sunday, Williams Brothers Construction will close the main lanes on U.S. 281 at Nakoma Drive to set bridge support beams to form the new south-to-north turnaround. The southbound lanes will close Saturday (May 9) and the northbound lanes will close Sunday (May 10). For both directions, traffic will exit Nakoma, pass through the intersection (we will have officers in place) and re-enter the road.

The turnaround will accommodate traffic from eastbound Wurzbach Parkway wanting to travel north on U.S. 281.

Once the beams are set, bridge crews will use overnight closures during upcoming weeks to set bridge deck panels and pour concrete. Expect to see these overnight closures happen almost nightly for the next several weeks.

Williams Brothers is still on pace to have the parkway opened this summer - nearly six months ahead of the contracted expectation.

Between now and then, WB is working on:
- The two new northbound exit ramps along U.S. 281 (one for Wurzbach Parkway and one for Bitters Road)
- The new northbound entrance ramp from Nakoma Drive and Wurzbach Parkway
- Some bridge work on the Parkway overpasses at U.S. 281
- Some remaining bridge work on the Nakoma turnarounds
- Electrical work along the parkway
- Final surface of asphalt project-wide
- New surface of asphalt on U.S. 281

Tuesday, April 28

I-10 project update(s)

Next weekend (May 8-11) Webber Construction will close the westbound exit to DeZavala Road to repave the road surface. This closure will take the whole weekend - traffic headed from the Medical Center/Crossroads/Downtown area to DeZavala Road will take the UTSA Boulevard exit and use the turnaround. That, or folks can exit Huebner Road and go through the intersection.

They'll have the exit reopened in time for the Monday morning commute.

With that major piece of information out of the way, let's take a look at what's happening along I-10 otherwise....

I-10 Boerne Stage Road

This project will convert the frontage roads between Boerne Stage Road and Dominion Drive to one-way. Part of this involves constructing a new frontage road leading up to Boerne Stage on the westbound side, leaving the road through Leon Springs to be a city street for business access.

Just about anyone driving through the area can tell what our focus is at the moment: we're building that new segment of frontage road. It runs straight through the old park-and-ride lot and includes a new west-to-east turnaround at Boerne Stage. Texas Sterling Construction is working hard on these items - as well as some work on Boerne Stage Road itself under I-10 - as other items progress.

We're building a new park-and-ride lot along the westbound frontage road about halfway between Boerne Stage Road and Ralph Fair Road. Texas Sterling says it will be finished and ready for use by mid-May.

What can't be easily seen is the struggle we're having to get some utilities cleared of our work. One of the private utilities in particular seems to be in our way, and we're doing what we can to get that utility company on site to move their lines as appropriate. Once those are out of the way, the already heavy work at the intersection of I-10 and Boerne Stage Road will intensify. Between now and then, expect to see other utilities moved around - including gas lines and water lines. Most of that work is already done, but we do have gas lines about to be moved through the month of May.

Another area of focus is a new east-to-west turnaround at Dominion Drive. Subcontractors are beginning the preparation work to expand the frontage road to accommodate the turnaround. This may require closing some sidewalk access (particularly under I-10) while crews get going. The good news for folks who live or work or play in the area is the expansion is all on the inside of the frontage roads - that is, in the area between the frontage roads and the main lanes. We are told the impact to the properties near this intersection will be extremely minimal.

As for work requiring closures, the biggest thing coming up is next week (currently scheduled for the night of May 6) as the electrical subcontractor works on the traffic signals at Boerne Stage Road and the I-10 frontage roads. While most of that work will be limited to the intersection right there at Boerne Stage, Texas Sterling will also have some work along the frontage road on the westbound side of the highway that night. The frontage road on the westbound side of I-10 will completely close the night of May 6 between Dominion and the Boerne Stage Road exit ramp while crews put drain structures across the road. Traffic will use the two-way frontage road on the eastbound side of the highway.

The signal work should only take a single night and the impact should be minimal. Once that work is done, signals will be on temporary (wood) signal poles hanging from wires. The permanent signals will be built when we get near the completion of the project mid-2016.

The drain structure work could require several nights, so expect to see that full closure of the frontage road repeated nightly for several nights.

I-10 Huebner

To answer the question on everyone's minds, right out of the gate: the turnarounds at DeZavala Road will be in use - daytime only - by the end of the week. That's what the good folks with Webber Construction are telling us. Overnight they'll need to close the turnarounds for work still, but they'll have them open for daytime traffic.

The new east-to-west turnaround at UTSA Boulevard will be ready and open by mid-May.

Beyond those items, Webber's primary focus is getting the road resurfaced. Nightly closures on the main lanes and on the frontage road - and the weekend closure of the DeZavala ramp mentioned above - will facilitate this. When everything is done, the road will be MUCH smoother than it is now, and we'll have all the striping blackout gone with nice, clear pavement striping through the whole project.

But that work is only really happening overnight.

Durinng the days Webber has crews working on the minor items - concrete work, railing and barriers, painting, sign installation ... mostly busywork the bulk of us driving through the work zone wouldn't notice without keeping a sharp eye out. More noticeably, you'll see some dirt work and grass being laid in the median area where required.

Webber says they are on pace to finish the project and be totally off the job by mid-summer.

Monday, April 27

Fred-Med: an update

In the interest of candor, this project was scheduled to be delivered by the start of February. Stormy weather over the winter has contributed to delays on projects across the district, but isn't the only issue the contractor has dealt with on the Fred-Med project.

Since the bridge slide in November, Texas Sterling Construction has significantly outpaced the work of one of its subcontractors and had to pull some resources off the job. This issue has become a bigger issue since February and we are working toward a resolution.

Right now we are hopeful we can reach the realistic goal of having traffic on the lower-level through lanes of Medical Drive by mid-May. We have about seven weeks’ worth of work before we’re done with work on the Fredericksburg Road surface level.
Between now and completion, here’s a look at the remaining work to be done: 
  • The through lanes of Medical Drive are made of concrete paving. This work is being done this week and, if weather cooperates, could be wrapped up by mid-week.
  • A raised concrete median will divide the uphill and downhill traffic under Fredericksburg Road - that's concrete work that cannot be completed until the concrete paving is finished. It's not work that requires a long time to finish, but it does have some prerequisites. That should be underway next week.
  • Once the concrete work is done, paving crews will lay asphalt to tie in the new through lanes with the existing lanes of Medical Drive. This will take some time - and a string of good weather - to accomplish. We're hopeful this will be done early or the middle of May.
  • The final touch is the paint job. We're not going to leave the whole thing in "concrete grey", after all - we want this to be a noticeable entryway to the South Texas Medical Center. You'll notice the STMC logo etched into the retaining walls under Fredericksburg Road, for instance. Once we have all the structural work left, we'll give it a paint job to match some of the theme in the Medical Center.
On the upper level (Fred Road), we've got a bit more work remaining:
  • Perhaps our biggest challenge is getting the traffic signal poles installed correctly. This will resolve some of the issues we're having with traffic at the intersection and has been prioritized for several months, but we are dependent on subcontractors to get the work done. Between availability of equipment and some debate over the actual location of some of these signal poles, we've seen some delays on this work. We now have everything ironed out and hope to see this work progress rapidly over the next few weeks.
  • Once the signal poles are installed and signal heads are mounted on the mast arms, concrete crews will be able to work on the curbs and sidewalks and pedestrian ramps across the intersection. We can't work on these before the signal work is finished because of the high risk of damage (and then a need to re-do work) to the curbs. The good news is this work is fast and only really requires a few short days once it starts
  • One thing folks can see crews doing now is install the steel railing along the concrete barrier keeping those driving on the Medical Drive exit and entrance ramps from barreling down into the through lanes below. Again, this is work that only takes a few short days.
  • The same subcontractor working on our traffic signals is also responsible for our lighting system. Once the signals are done, we'll turn them onto illumination. We hope that process is quick and straightforward.
  • A final layer of asphalt will be put down once all the concrete work is finished. This should smooth out the ride for folks driving through the intersection now, and will allow us to put permanent pavement markers that will help traffic understand this intersection a bit better.
  • Again, we wrap everything up with a paint job. We were trying to work so the painter could move directly from the downstairs portion to the upstairs, but we're not totally sure that will happen now. Hey, we can still try and strive for it, right?
That's it - that gets you up-to-date on the Fred-Med project.

The most important thing is:

Through lanes of Medical Drive should open in about three weeks.

Total project completion should happen in about seven weeks.

Bottom line: by the end of June, you shouldn't see us out there doing much of anything anymore -we should be all packed up and moved on to other projects!

Saturday, April 25

Upcoming project: Spur 53 (UTSA Boulevard)

It's official: the expansion of UTSA Boulevard between I-10 and Edward Ximines is set to begin work. In fact, crews will officially take their respective places on the job on Monday, May 4.

For those unfamiliar with the project, here's what's going on:

  • Widen UTSA Boulevard to five lanes - two in each direction plus a center left-turn lane.
  • Wider shoulders to accommodate bikes
  • Multi-use meandering path on the south side of the roadway
  • Improved drainage
There's no two-ways about it: this project is all about keeping up with the incredible growth of the area - mostly through apartment complexes trying to accommodate the increased enrollment at UTSA (seriously, it's growing out there - if you aren't a believer, check out this, this or this ... and this).

The $9 million project will take us a little more than two years to complete, with estimated completion summer 2017. We've got a new-to-us contractor on this project; this will be the first TxDOT project in the San Antonio area for SMC Contractors (a subsidiary of the much larger Curran Group, based in the Chicagoland area). They've indicated they're eager to make a great first impression with this project.

So everyone is on the same page, let's go over what we can expect for the next two years. To be completely up front, those driving through the area can expect a highly active construction zone through the duration of our work. We'll be on a five-day workweek (meaning we'll typically be off the job during weekends), and we have restricted closures to overnight only. When employed, closures will occur only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. When we do have lane closures, we'll typically have a full week's notice - basically, expect to see those closures in the weekly lane closure report on this blog.

Heavy equipment should be equipped with a "quiet" back-up alarm, which will sound like a growl or a buzz more than the beeping sound most people are familiar with. Through the summer months we'll use water trucks to keep down the dust, and we'll be constantly on patrol to keep our barricades cleaned up.

The first round of closures will allow crews to set up barriers. Expect to see those closures mid-May, and we'll have crews really hitting the ground hard shortly thereafter. By the way, this coincides with the break between the spring term and the summer terms for UTSA students. The first phase of work will be on the south side of the road - the side of the road backed up against the Auburn Ridge subdivision. This work will include the remaining utility work, drain structure construction (which takes the longest time of the work involved with a project like this) and construction of the meandering multi-use path.

While SMC will work to keep safe walking paths available through the duration of the project, those who walk through the area - particularly UTSA students - should be careful to avoid walking through the active construction zone. It's simply unsafe to do so, and when we have pedestrians walking through the construction zone our production slows and unnecessary delays are caused.

In order to cut down on pedestrian traffic in the construction zone, and to help keep traffic driving at safe speeds, we are working with local law enforcement - including the UTSA police department - to patrol the project routinely. Keep in mind UTSA officers are fully authorized to write traffic citations, whether you're affiliated with the school or not!

Friday, April 24

Next week's construction-related closures

Now that Fiesta is wrapping up, our contractors are gearing up for heavier activity! Pay close attention to the activity on I-10 in the northwest part of San Antonio and I-35/I-410 near SAMMC....

I-10
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 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, April 27-May 1. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Huebner Road and Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews repave the roadway and work on overhead highway signs.
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 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-Friday, April 27-May 1. 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. Westbound main lanes between Business Loop 87 and state Highway 46 (Boerne). The right lane and shoulder will close while crews place barrier.
  • Friday-Monday, May 1-4. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Westbound exit ramp to DeZavala Road and Woodstone Drive (northwest San Antonio). The ramp will close for the weekend while crews do road work. Traffic will exit UTSA Boulevard and turn around to reach its destination.
I-35
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between FM 3009 and Solms Road (Schertz-New Braunfels). Alternating lanes will close, including alternating closures of exit or entrance ramps, while crews repave the roadway.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Schwab and Solms roads (New Braunfels). All lanes will close while crews repave the roadway. Traffic will exit Schwab Road and re-enter after Solms Road.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between George Beach and Rittiman Road (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for concrete work.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Walzem and George Beach (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Walzem and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Walzem and George Beach (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Fratt Road (northeast San Antonio). The left lane will close for concrete work.
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound connector to westbound I-410 (northeast San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews work on the guardrail.
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between Greatfare and Rittiman Road (east San Antonio). The left lane will close for road work.
I-410
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (east San Antonio). The connector will close while crews place barrier. Traffic will exit Space Center Drive and proceed through the Rittiman Road intersection before entering the northbound main lanes of I-35.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 26-May 1. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound connector to northbound I-35 (northeast San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Monday-Friday, April 27-May 1. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between the Guadalupe River and the Bexar/Comal county line (Comal County). The left lane will close while crews work on the cable median barrier.
  • Wednesday-Saturday, April 27-May 2 nightly. Northbound main lanes between Rhapsody and Bitters roads (north-central San Antonio). The two left lanes will close while crews work on bridge support structures at Nakoma Drive.
Loop 1604
  • Monday, March 30-Thursday, April 30. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. 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-Friday, May 1. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. Walnut Avenue, both directions, between Floral and Wood avenues (New Braunfels). All lanes will close for a month while crews build a drain structure. Local traffic will have access to businesses on this block via Lockner and Howard roads.
  • Monday-Thursday, April 27-30. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Medical Drive, both directions, between Ewing Halsell and Fredericksburg Road (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 29-May 1. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Medical Drive, both directions, at Fredericksburg Road (Medical Center). Alternating lanes will close while crews work on traffic signals.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 29-May 1. 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road at Medical Drive (Medical Center). Alternating lanes of the intersection will close while crews work on traffic signals.
  • Monday-Wednesday, April 27-29. 7 a.m. until noon, continuous. Westbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 29-May 1. Noon until 4 p.m. continuous. Eastbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, April 28-29. 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound Bitters Road at U.S. 281 (north-central San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews work on the lighting.
All closures are pending weather.

Thursday, April 23

Answers on I-10 (northwest SA)

We now have several active construction zones along I-10 in northwest San Antonio/Bexar County. With a few questions out there floating, it's time to get some answers out there to catch the questions.

I-10 Huebner 

We get two common questions on this project: the first addresses the pavement surface and the second addresses the turnarounds at DeZavala Road.

The turnarounds at DeZavala Road remain a priority, and we're working with Webber Construction to have them reopened as quickly as we can. The wet weather experienced through the area over the last four months (it's been one of the wettest years in memory to date) has slowed work across the 12-county district, and that's held true on I-10 at DeZavala. Much of the work needed near the turnarounds has been pushed a few times for weather.

That said, there's not much left to do before we should be able to allow the turnarounds to reopen. The question we're asking and going to Webber Construction with is whether we can open up those turnarounds before all the work at the intersection is finished. This is an involved discussion - the idea is to have the turnarounds open during the day and closed for work overnight. The hitch is many of the materials needed to do the work remaining, and the crews involved, are scarce overnight.

Bottom line: we're working on it. With an estimated overall completion date of summer 2015, the time between now and opening the turnarounds is wearing very thin.

As for the asphalt surface ... no the final product is not currently out there. We still have a final layer of surface asphalt to lay down, particularly on the main lanes. Webber was doing this work earlier in the month, but a prohibition of closures on the main lanes during Fiesta has halted progress. This prohibition has come at the insistence of city leaders, and we're doing our best to be a good partner in things. Once Fiesta wraps up this weekend, we'll turn Webber loose on the main lanes again and they'll use overnight closures to lay that final surface lane-by-lane.

Ralph Fair Road

This project is nearly complete. Crews with Sundt Construction have a goal of opening all lanes of the Ralph Fair Road bridge over I-10 by the end of May. As activities around that bridge slow down, crews will focus on the eastbound frontage road between Ralph Fair Road and Boerne Stage Road.

One common note we're getting is about potholes along this eastbound frontage road. Our inspectors and engineers are routinely patrolling the area, as are representatives of the contractor. We do have some issues with the pavement at the edge of the road, but what's out there right now are not actual potholes. They're not in the wheel path, either. We are monitoring the situation and will have it addressed as a byproduct of reconstructing that segment of the road. That reconstruction - or, at least, rehabilitation and resurfacing - will be the last major work to do on this project before we are completely wrapped up.

Boerne Stage Road

The project converting frontage roads to one-way between Dominion Drive and Boerne Stage Road has begun, with most of the activity off and away from the active lanes of traffic near Boerne Stage Road.

We have a utility delay (those are becoming all too familiar...) on this project, with a private company scheduled to move lines out of the way in the next few weeks. Until then our contractor, Texas Sterling Construction, is hard at work doing what they can in other areas of the project. Much of this is between the existing westbound exit ramp to Boerne Stage Road and Boerne Stage Road itself - particularly in the grassy area on which we are building a new frontage road (which will pull traffic from I-10 to Boerne Stage Road off Old Fredericksburg Road, freeing up that little corridor for a better flow of commercial traffic).

The overall project duration for this job is about a year and a half, so we're working to finish the job by the end of 2016.

Friday, April 17

Next week's construction-related closures



Most of the activity next week will be on frontage roads or away from San Antonio - an effort to avoid conflicting with Fiesta traffic:
I-10
  • Sunday-Friday, April 19-24. 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, April 20-24. 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-Friday, April 20-24. 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. Westbound main lanes between U.S. Hwy 87 and state Hwy 46 (Boerne). The right lane will close while crews set barrier. No ramps will close.
I-35
  • Sunday-Friday, April 19-24. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between FM 3009 and Solms Road (New Braunfels). Alternating lanes will close, including full closures of the highway as needed, while crews repave the roadway. Traffic will exit onto the frontage road and re-enter after the closure area where needed.
  • Monday-Wednesday, April 20-22. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. North-to-south turnaround at Salado Creek (northeast San Antonio). The turnaround will close while crews work on support structure foundations. Traffic will use the next available cross street to turn around.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 22-24. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. South-to-north turnaround at Salado Creek (northeast San Antonio). The turnaround will close while crews work on support structure foundations. Traffic will use the next available cross street to turn around.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Monday-Friday, April 20-24. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between the Guadalupe River and the Bexar/Comal county line (Comal County). The left lane will close while crews work on the cable median barrier.
Loop 1604
  • Monday, March 30-Thursday, April 30. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. 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-Friday, May 1. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. Walnut Avenue, both directions, between Floral and Wood avenues (New Braunfels). All lanes will close for a month while crews build a drain structure. Local traffic will have access to businesses on this block via Lockner and Howard roads.
  • Monday-Tuesday, April 20-21. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Wurzbach Parkway, both directions, between Weidner and O’Connor roads (northeast San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews resurface the road.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 21-23. 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road at Medical Drive (Medical Center). Alternating lanes of the intersection will close while crews install new traffic signals.
  • Monday, April 2. 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Roosevelt Road (Spur 536), both directions, between the VFW and Mission Road (south San Antonio). Traffic will be limited to a single lane while crews shift traffic lanes. This work will be done Wednesday if it cannot be done Monday.
  • Monday-Wednesday, April 27-29. 7 a.m. until noon, continuous. Westbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 29-May 1. Noon until 4 p.m. continuous. Eastbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, April 15

Back-ups in Boerne: the work on Hwy 46

More than a few folks in the Boerne area have reached out to us concerning the intersection of Hwy 46 and Esser/Herff Road, a major intersection between Boerne and Champion high schools on the city's west end.

Before much more is said, it's important to remember that at this location there are two active construction projects. One is a Kendall County project to widen and improve the Herff Road bridge over Cibolo Creek. That project is not affiliated with TxDOT and folks should be aware there are activities related to that project that may impact traffic along Hwy 46.

The other job is our project; the aim is what engineers like to call "operational improvements" to the intersections. We're trying to do what we can to address the congestion that's come and that is coming with the explosive growth of Kendall County just east of Boerne. We know there are more than 5,000 homes scheduled to be built in this area over the next 2-3 years, and we're doing what we can with the resources we have. This project spans Hwy 46 (River Road) from the intersection of Esser Road to the intersection of Herff Ranch Road.

Most of the issue, it seems, comes during morning and evening peak commute times (which just happen to coincide with school starting and letting out...) at the intersection of Esser and Hwy 46. Because we're aware of delays during these hours getting pretty rough - reports indicate folks are spending between 20 and 45 minutes in those back-ups - we want to be sure folks know what's happening to help the situation.

First of all, we do have officers on site during peak hours to control traffic. We coordinate this with the Boerne Police Department, who has determined the safest and easiest way to go about this is to have officers control traffic through the signal control box, a large metal box off to the side of the intersection. This may mean it doesn't look like much is being done - the police officer on site isn't in the middle of the road directing traffic, but remains behind the control box. The signals, though, are being manually controlled at that point, like in the good old days. This is done for safety and to avoid confusion if the officer were to give a hand signal that contradicted what the light was independently doing.
An officer, wearing a green safety vest, controls the traffic signal at Hwy 46 and Esser Road this afternoon (15 April).

We have officers on site Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. and again 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

As for work schedule, we are on pace to have our work completed by the end of August - that means we'll be working through the summer and have this wrapped up by time we're ready for the next school year.

In the meantime, crews are working hard to get the westbound right-turn lane at Esser Road back in action as soon as possible. That will help the issues at this intersection - and beyond. With that turn lane, the city wants to post Esser and Blanco roads as an alternate route to River Road to reach Main Street.

We also know an extended left-turn lane at the intersection will help. That's in line with the purpose of this project, and we hope to have it open and available in the next couple of months.

Some have asked why we don't focus on a viable alternate route to divert traffic away from Hwy 46 (River Road). The trouble with that is the amount of time and planning and resources required; it's cumbersome. It's actually a little simpler to have the city or county conduct such a project, but before they could do so a viable route would need to be identified that includes a string of property owners willing to sell land for use as a thoroughfare.

For now, we're doing what we can along Hwy 46.

Tuesday, April 14

All that's happening on Loop 1604 in NWSA

If you live, work or play on the far northwest side of San Antonio, you've noticed the progress of the work on Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads. Williams Brothers Construction is converting the two-way highway to a full-blown expressway with overpasses and frontage roads.

Work is on pace to wrap up by the end of 2016.

Over recent weeks, traffic has seen some additional delays develop - particularly on Saturdays if you're headed north. Squeezed traffic lanes between New Guilbeau and Braun can back traffic on the northbound side nearly to Shaenfield, causing delays of between 5 and 10 minutes.

The lane squeeze is to allow crews space to work on the frontage roads on each side of the highway. Phasing for this project is heavy on the frontage roads first, then with traffic on the frontage roads bridge crews can begin working on the overpasses at Braun, New Guilbeau and Shaenfield.

Williams Brothers has a goal to be ready for this upcoming switch - moving traffic off the main lanes onto the frontage roads for the full length of the project - by the end of May if weather holds (recent rains, and the wet spring we've had, have slowed work a little). 

When that switch happens, traffic will have two lanes in each direction and the posted speed limit will be 45 miles per hour (that area is currently posted at 60 MPH). Folks using this corridor should expect some additional time to get through the area as they make their commutes. We will still have the superstreet configuration during this phase, as Williams Brothers will extend the turnarounds to reach the frontage roads for now. Northbound traffic to Shaenfield will utilize the turnaround north of Shaenfield; no cross traffic will happen at that location.

Those living along the corridor in the Wildhorse and Bridgewood subdivisions should be aware no acceleration or deceleration lanes are planned along this frontage road corridor. Getting in and out of the subdivisions directly onto Lp 1604 will become tougher - serious consideration to using Shaenfield or other alternate routes should be considered.

Before this switch can take place, a few major items need to be completed:

* Bridges over Helotes Creek are nearly complete, but some important work still remains. Bridge crews have been working daily at this location and have poured concrete over the last few weeks. Again, more to do but it's moving strong.

* The frontage road across Shaenfield needs to be built. This will mean some overnight  or weekend closures in upcoming weeks as crews build the road. Details of how this will be phased will come when we are ready to do the work; typically a crossing like this is done in halves, allowing closures to be limited to a few lanes at a time. Project managers are exploring options still, and hope to have a plan firmed up in the next week or so.

* Like Shaenfield, we need to cross over New Guilbeau. This will be a little simpler than the Shaenfield crossing, but will also require some closures in upcoming weeks. More info will come as the time approaches. 

* Sidewalks will be built along the curb. One of the key features for this project is the addition of sidewalks and wider shoulder space on the frontage roads to accommodate bike traffic, improving safety for all along this corridor. We may still have some sidewalk work left over after we shift traffic, but most of it should be finished.

* Ramps will be built near Culebra, allowing traffic to still utilize the Culebra Road overpass. This means, on the southbound side, closing the Culebra Road exit ramp. This closure will be permanent, as that exit is moving north near the Bridgewood subdivision (a temporary ramp is currently in use nearby).

Friday, April 10

Upcoming construction-related closures

With Fiesta ramping up next week, closures are limited. In San Antonio, we will have no main lane closures for construction or for planned maintenance during the nearly two weeks of Fiesta. Expect to see a slew of closures for the week after Fiesta, as most of our contractors will have much-needed work to perform as soon as those closures become an option again.

With that in mind, here are the upcoming construction-related closures as they have been announced to date (note this extends beyond the next week): 
I-10

  • Friday-Monday, April 10-13. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. continuous. Main lanes, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews lay asphalt. This closure includes closures of all ramps along this stretch, as needed. No more than two ramps in each direction will be closed at one time.
  • Sunday-Thursday, April 12-16. 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, April 12-17. 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, April 13-17. 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, April 13-14. 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Westbound main lanes between Gevers and Pine streets (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews work on highway signs.
I-35
  • Thursday-Saturday, April 9-11. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. North-to-south turnaround at Salado Creek (northeast San Antonio). The turnaround will close while crews work on support structure foundations. Traffic will use the next available cross street to turn around.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Monday-Friday, April 6-17. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Nakoma Drive and Bitters Road (north-central San Antonio). The two left lanes will close while crews work on the center median barrier.
  • Wednesday-Wednesday, April 8-15. 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Northbound main lanes between the Atascosa County line and FM 1937 (south Bexar County). The right lane will close while crews recycle the top layer of asphalt.
  • Saturday, April 11. 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Northbound frontage road between Nakoma Drive and Bitters Road (north-central San Antonio). The two left lanes will close while crews reset barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, April 13-17. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between the Guadalupe River and the Bexar/Comal county line (Comal County). The left lane will close while crews work on the cable median barrier.
Loop 1604
  • Monday, March 30-Thursday, April 30. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. 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-Friday, May 1. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. continuous. Walnut Avenue, both directions, between Floral and Wood avenues (New Braunfels). All lanes will close for a month while crews build a drain structure. Local traffic will have access to businesses on this block via Lockner and Howard roads.
  • Monday-Thursday, April 13-16. 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-Thursday, April 13-16. 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.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, April 14-15. 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Boerne Stage Road, both directions, at I-10 (Leon Springs). All lanes will close while crews set barrier. Traffic will turn right onto the frontage road, travel to the next available cross street and turn around.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 21-23. 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Fredericksburg Road at Medical Drive (Medical Center). Alternating lanes of the intersection will close while crews install new traffic signals.
  • Monday-Wednesday, April 27-29. 7 a.m. until noon, continuous. Westbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 29-May 1. Noon until 4 p.m. continuous. Eastbound Wurzbach Parkway at Blanco Road (north-central San Antonio). All lanes of the overpass bridge will close while crews repair bridge joints. Traffic will exit Blanco Road, continue through the intersection, and re-enter the parkway.
All closures are pending weather.
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