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).