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Wednesday, April 1

Wurzbach Parkway progress

The question persists: When will the segment of Wurzbach Parkway between West Avenue and U.S. 281 open?

The short answer is "this summer", but there's more to it than that.

We are not going to open any segments of the Parkway - when the last section, spanning from West Avenue to Jones-Maltsberger, is ready to open, we'll open the whole shebang. And that is slated to happen this summer.

In the meantime, you'll see activity increase along U.S. Hwy 281 between Nakoma and Bitters. Next week (and most of the week after), crews will close one lane in each direction overnight each night to do work on drill shafts in the median area. These drill shafts will serve as foundations for overhead highway sign mounts and for support structures for the future south-to-north turnaround at Nakoma.

Meanwhile, road crews are working hard to get the new northbound entrance ramp from Nakoma and Wurzbach Parkway built and open for use. The new ramp is located fairly near the current temporary ramp, so folks driving the road won't notice much difference in their commute each day. Once that new ramp is opened, however, Williams Brothers will shut down - permanently - the left lane of the frontage road approaching Bitters Road. That lane is excess, and much-needed drain structures will take its place.

All this work will take just a few short months, and when complete we'll be able to open the whole Parkway. We will not be opening this last span in segments. We have several ask if we'll open the segment from West Avenue to U.S. 281 before we open up the overpass at U.S. 281. No, we will not!

The biggest reason for this is to eliminate the chance someone drives into the work zone or drives over an unfinished overpass at U.S. 281. We will open the parkway when it's ready, but it's not yet ready! We still have a lot of work on the overpass (particularly the eastbound side) as well as some of the entrance and exit ramps.

The second question that persists is whether or not the Parkway will have direct connectors - an interchange - at U.S. 281. No, it won't. It will have ramps leading to the U.S. 281 frontage road with stop signs at the end of each ramp, but we will not build direct connectors. The biggest reason for this is the tight height restrictions due to our proximity to the airport and the flight path. The parkway is as tall as it can be, and what you see out there now is pretty much what you'll be getting.

To sum up, we'll have the last segment of Wurzbach Parkway opened this summer. By the way, since the original estimate was to have the job done by the end of 2015, we'll have this project finished several months early. Good news for everyone!