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Friday, May 29

Next week's construction-related closures



Previously scheduled closures at the intersection of Fredericksburg Road and Medical Drive, as well as the westbound exit ramp to DeZavala Road, have been postponed (again) due to weather.

I-10
  • Tuesday, May 26-Friday, June 5. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Eastbound frontage road between Cincinnati Road and Culebra Road (downtown). The left lane will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 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.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 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.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 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.
  • Wednesday-Friday, June 3-5. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between I-37 and New Braunfels Ave (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews work on overhead highway signs.
I-35
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and George Beach (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Walzem and George Beach (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Parkway (east San Antonio). Two right lanes will close while crews set barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Northbound connector to westbound I-410 (Windcrest). The right lane will close while crews work on the guardrail.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 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 to allow access for work trucks.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Fratt Road (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and George Beach (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close for road work.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Parkway (east San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews work on temporary light fixtures.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, 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.
  • Wednesday-Friday, June 3-5. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Turnarounds on both sides of Salado Creek (east San Antonio). Traffic will be cut to one lane, using one-way traffic control, while crews do bridge work.
I-410
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier. Traffic will exit Space Center and continue through Rittiman Road, then enter northbound I-35.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound connector to northbound I-35 (Windcrest). The right lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Monday-Sunday, June 1-6. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at Nakoma Drive (north-central San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews work on the Nakoma turnaround bridges. Traffic will exit Nakoma Drive, pass through the intersection, and re-enter the main lanes.
Loop 1604
  • Monday-Wednesday, June 1-3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Culebra Road and Wiseman Boulevard (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews place barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Turnarounds, both directions, at Braun Road (northwest San Antonio). The turnarounds will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will move through the intersection to turn around.
Other roads
  • Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31. 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Braun Road, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews hang bridge support beams. Eastbound traffic will travel south on Loop 1604 and turn around after Shaenfield Road to reach northbound Loop 1604. Westbound traffic will travel north on Loop 1604 and turn around at Bandera Road to reach southbound Loop 1604.
  • Monday-Friday, June 1-5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Braun Road, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews hang bridge deck panels. Eastbound traffic will travel south on Loop 1604 and turn around after Shaenfield Road to reach northbound Loop 1604. Westbound traffic will travel north on Loop 1604 and turn around at Bandera Road to reach southbound Loop 1604.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound Eisenhauer Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work. Traffic will use the I-35 frontage road to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound Eisenhauer Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound Rittiman Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work. Traffic will use the I-35 frontage road to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 31-June 5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound Rittiman Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, June 2-5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between City Park Road and Ammann Road (Boerne). Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the pavement base.
  • Friday-Monday, June 5-8. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. Fredericksburg Road, both directions, between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center). All lanes will close while crews reconstruct the road. Traffic will use Wurzbach Road, Ewing Hallsell and Louis Pasteur to reach its destination. Traffic on Medical Drive will use the new through lanes. This closure was initially planned for May 8-11 but rescheduled due to weather.
All closures are pending weather.

Major closure for the weekend - Braun Rd at Lp 1604

The full list of next week's construction-related closures is coming later today, but here's a look at the biggest closure you'll see over the next weekend.

By the way, this closure is happening this weekend - Saturday and Sunday. We mentioned it a couple of times over the last two weeks, but if you missed all that let's let this post serve as full notice.

Saturday and Sunday, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day, we'll close Braun Road at Loop 1604 so bridge crews can hang and set bridge support beams.

The big thing this will impact is traffic that's coming from Braun Road outside the loop seeking to turn left (north) to get to Bandera Road and beyond. Both directions will need to turn right onto Lp 1604 and turn around at the next available location. That's going to be a little different for some folks, so here's a little more detailed look:

Westbound Braun Rd
Turn right (north) onto Loop 1604 and head toward Bandera Road. Exit Bandera Road (if you didn't keep right at the split) and turn around to head south. From southbound Loop 1604, you can turn right back onto Braun Road or continue on to your destination.

Eastbound Braun Road
Turn right (south) onto Loop 1604 and head toward Culebra Road. About halfway between Shaenfield Road and Culebra Road, there's a south-to-north turnaround - you'll want to take that. Head north on Loop 1604. You can either turn right onto Braun, or you can continue on to your destination beyond. 

Turning left
With no thru traffic on Braun Road at Loop 1604, the left turns off Loop 1604 onto Braun Road will also be restricted. If you're planning to turn left, know that you'll need to continue moving straight ahead and turn around where the folks from Braun are turning. 

Alternatives
Many of you will find your own way, seeking alternate routes to get around this. Sneak away! One possible route we're working to optimize the signals for (anticipating heavier traffic volumes) is using FM 1560. FM 1560 connects Bandera and Culebra roads and could be a viable alternate route for you if you're outside Loop 1604.

If you're inside the Loop, you likely have your own route. All the roads in the immediate vicinity are city streets - we technically aren't supposed to be suggesting a detour on a city street without express consent from the city ... so we'll leave it at that.

One last thing:

Once the beams are in place, crews will need to hang bridge deck panels to form the guts of the bridge. This will happen nightly next week, 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Expect to see Braun Road closed nightly for this work next week and, if needed, part of the week after.

First Prop 1 project for the area approved

We've got several posts in the hopper, but haven't been able to finish any to have them ready for posting this week - it's been pretty busy around here as we've helped field questions about road closures and damage and a whole lot of other stuff in the wake of last weekend's flooding.

But yesterday a state-wide news release went out that's worth commenting on, and we didn't want to delay. So, though we've got some other topics about to post as well (today may be a busy day on this blog...), here's a few words about the first Prop 1 project to be approved for the San Antonio area.

Several Prop 1 projects across the state have already been approved - we have about 200 of them planned in all - but for San Antonio, a project that spans U.S. 90 between I-410 and Loop 1604 on the city's west side is the first to be formally approved with a contractor bid accepted. This happened at the monthly Transportation Commission meeting, with about 40 projects approved statewide this week.

Once the contractor has signed all the appropriate contracts, we'll talk more about that. For now, here are the important details (there are also some slide shows from the public meetings processes here):

Who
The apparent low bidder is Hunter Industries, of San Marcos. Hunter has done a number of projects in Comal County in recent years (the U.S. 281 expansion in Spring Branch, the reconfiguration of the Lp 337 overpass bridge over I-35, the FM 306 expansion between I-35 and Gruene and addition of passing lanes along FM 306 in Canyon Lake are some examples) and a few years ago constructed the Loop 1604 superstreet intersections at New Guilbeau and Shaenfield roads.


What
  • Convert the frontage roads of U.S. 90 between I-410 and Lp 1604 to one-way frontage roads
  • Adjust ramps to fit new one-way frontage road configuration
  • Build a new west-to-east turnaround at Loop 1604
Why
The frontage roads conversion is a safety first project. In metro and urban areas, we're doing what we can to eliminate two-way frontage roads as we see a higher frequency of wrong-way drivers along these roads. Also, the added traffic in this area due to continued growth requires us to address congestion issues - and one-way frontage roads will help that for current and future growth.

When
With a bid accepted and approved, we're about three months or thereabouts from starting construction. Once we get going, expect the project to last somewhere around two years. That means we can expect work to begin late 2015 and finish late 2017.

How
Prop 1 funding - that's right, this will be the first (of many) projects in San Antonio funded through Proposition 1, which was approved by voters last fall. This project carries an estimated total project cost of $26.2 million.

Friday, May 22

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 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.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 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.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 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.
  • Tuesday, May 26-Friday, June 5. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Eastbound frontage road between Cincinnati Road and Culebra Road (downtown). The left lane will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Westbound main lanes between Roland Avenue and Walters Street (east San Antonio). The right lane will close while crews work on the overhead highway sign structure.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, May 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Boerne Stage Road and Stonewall Parkway/Dominion Drive (Leon Springs). The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Friday-Monday, May 29-June 1. 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. This closure was initially planned for May 8-11 but rescheduled due to weather.
I-35
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, 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.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 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.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Rittiman and George Beach (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. South-to-north turnaround at Salado Creek (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews do bridge work.
I-410
  • Sunday-Monday, May 31-June 1. 3 a.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound connector to northbound I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews switch traffic onto the new lanes. Traffic will exit Space Center and continue through Rittiman Road, then enter northbound I-35.
U.S. Hwy 181
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. U.S. Hwy 181, both directions, between South Presa and Loop 1604 (southeast Bexar County). The left lane will close while crews refresh pavement markings.
U.S. Hwy 281
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 26-29. 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.
  • Tuesday-Sunday, May 26-31. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at Nakoma Drive (north-central San Antonio). All lanes will close as needed while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit Nakoma Drive, pass through the intersection, and re-enter the main lanes. Note: only one direction will be closed at a time.
Loop 1604
  • Monday, March 30-Sunday, May 31. 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-Monday, June 8. 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.
  • Thursday, May 14-Friday, May 29. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. continuous. Shaenfield Road, both directions, at Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). All but one lane in each direction will close while crews reconstruct the intersection to fit the new southbound frontage road.
  • Thursday, May 14-Friday, May 29. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. continuous. New Guilbeau Road, both directions, at Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). All but one lane in each direction will close while crews reconstruct the intersection to fit the new northbound frontage road.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound Eisenhauer Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work. Traffic will use the I-35 frontage road to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound Eisenhauer Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound Rittiman Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). All lanes will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work. Traffic will use the I-35 frontage road to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 26-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound Rittiman Road at I-35 (east San Antonio). The left lane will close while crews move barrier and do bridge work.
  • Tuesday-Saturday, May 26-30. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. continuous. Bowens Crossing, both directions, at Loop 1604 (northwest San Antonio). Alternating lanes will close while crews rebuild the intersection. Traffic will be limited to one-way only. Restricted traffic should use New Guilbeau to reach its destination.
  • Tuesday, May 26. 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Eastbound Wurzbach Parkway at Weidner Road (northeast San Antonio). The right two lanes will close while crews work on the manholes.
  • Friday-Monday, May 29-June 1. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. continuous. Fredericksburg Road, both directions, between Louis Pasteur and Data Point (Medical Center). All lanes will close while crews reconstruct the road. Traffic will use Wurzbach Road, Ewing Hallsell and Louis Pasteur to reach its destination. Traffic on Medical Drive will use the new through lanes. This closure was initially planned for May 8-11 but rescheduled due to weather.
  • Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31. 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Braun Road, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews hang bridge support beams. Eastbound traffic will travel south on Loop 1604 and turn around after Shaenfield Road to reach northbound Loop 1604. Westbound traffic will travel north on Loop 1604 and turn around at Bandera Road to reach southbound Loop 1604.
All closures are pending weather.

RMA has posted US 281 EIS

If you understand the headline for this post, you either pay a LOT of attention to what's happening on U.S. 281 (as far as our future plans, etc.), or you speak Transpo Lingo.

In an email sent out this morning, the Alamo Area Regional Mobility Authority (Alamo RMA) has announced the completion of its Environmental Impact Statement and has published it for public review.

Future development on U.S. 281 - including added travel lanes and four direct connector ramps from Loop 1604 to U.S. 281 (on the north side of the interchange, finishing the work that was done a couple of years ago) - is being led by the Alamo RMA. Because they are the lead agency on this project, it's only fair we do what we can to make sure interested parties are pointed in the right direction.

With that, here is the notice of availability from the RMA:


Notice of Availability - Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) US 281, Bexar County, Texas
Pursuant to Texas Administrative Code, Title 43, §2.108, and Code of Federal Regulations, Section 771.125, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is advising the public of the availability of the approved FEIS for the proposed construction on US 281, from Loop 1604 to Borgfeld Drive in Bexar County, Texas. The proposed project is being developed with the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (Alamo RMA) in cooperation with TxDOT. The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 16, 2014, and executed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and TxDOT.

The US 281 Corridor Project would extend approximately 8 miles, add additional travel lanes, and would include four direct connector ramps that comprise the northern half of the US 281 interchange with Loop 1604. A total of two build alternatives, in addition to the No-Build Alternative, are presented in the FEIS. The Preferred Alternative would expand the US 281 to a six-lane expressway with partial access-controlled outer lanes. From Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Parkway, the expressway lanes would include two non-toll general purpose lanes with an auxiliary lane plus one managed lane in each direction. The expressway lanes would be situated between three partial access-controlled outer lanes in each direction, also known as frontage roads. From Stone Oak Parkway to Borgfeld Drive, US 281 would ultimately be expanded to a six-lane expressway (three managed lanes in each direction) with two non-toll outer lanes in each direction. The social, economic, and environmental impacts of the proposed project have been analyzed in the FEIS.

The need for improvements to US 281 arises from historic and continuing trends in population and employment growth along the US 281 project corridor and within the surrounding areas. This growth generates increasing amounts of vehicle travel, which in turn impedes the function of US 281 to provide regional mobility and local access, leading to lengthy travel delays and a high rate of vehicle crashes. The purpose of the US 281 Corridor Project is to improve mobility and accessibility, enhance safety, and improve community quality of life.

A digital version of the FEIS may be downloaded from the project website at http://www.411on281.com/us281eis/. In addition, the document is on file and available for review at the following locations: (1) Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (c/o Bexar County Public Works), 233 North Pecos La Trinidad, Suite 420, San Antonio, TX 78207; (2) Texas Department of Transportation, 4615 N.W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78229; (3) Parman Branch Library at Stone Oak, 20735 Wilderness Oak, San Antonio, TX 78258; (4) Brook Hollow Branch Library, 530 Heimer Road, San Antonio, TX 78232; and (5) San Antonio Central Library, 600 Soledad Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.

Copies of the Final EIS and other information about the project may also be requested in writing from Jacobs Engineering Group, Attention Andrew Cooper, 2705 Bee Cave Road, Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78746 or by email at Andrew.Cooper@jacobs.com. DVD copies may be obtained free of charge, and paper copies for a fee of approximately $1,000.00.

Comments regarding the FEIS may be submitted to Jacobs Engineering Group, Attention Andrew Cooper, 2705 Bee Cave Road, Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78746. Comments will also be accepted at http://www.411on281.com/us281eis/ under Submit Comments.

The comment period closes on June 22, 2015.

Wednesday, May 20

Surprise! I-10/US 90 at Probandt

With 12 counties to worry about and lead communications efforts on, a project is bound to slip through the cracks in the communications realm now and again.

This week our communications team fielded a number of calls about the closure of the westbound I-10 (also westbound US 90) entrance ramp from Probandt just south of downtown San Antonio. This closure will last at least through the summer, and could move into the fall. Maintenance crews are working hard to repair slopes in this area.

This work is pretty weather-dependent because of the amount of dirt work involved. Obviously, dry dirt moves much easier than wet dirt is, so during these stretches of wet days we won't be able to do the work safely, and we can't open the ramp safely. It's a tough situation, but it's the situation we've all been presented with.

For the time being, the posted detour route will be:
  • Take the eastbound I-10 entrance ramp, keep in the right lane of eastbound I-10
  • Exit southbound I-37, stay in the right lane of southbound I-37
  • Exit Fair Avenue, take turnaround
  • Enter northbound I-37, stay in the right lane of northbound I-37
  • Exit westbound I-10, carry on to your destination
It sounds and reads a ton more complicated than it really is. But the location here is simply unique, and there aren't any better detour options available. We know it's going to be a burr under the saddle while we're doing the work, and we'll do what we can to speed things up to finish as soon as possible.

Tuesday, May 19

Emergency lane closure: WB I-10 at New Braunfels Ave

If you haven't heard at all, traffic this morning was snarled on the east side by a crash that badly damaged an overhead highway sign support bracket.

Several lanes of westbound I-10 were closed between about midnight and 7:15 this morning while crews cleaned up the crash scene and braced the sign supports.

Still, the truss needs to be removed entirely (the signs were taken down last night). In order to remove the truss, traffic will be limited to a single lane with a temporary full closure of westbound I-10 between New Braunfels Avenue and Gevers Street. This closure will start at 11:00 tonight and crews with Austin Bridge & Road will have lanes reopened by 5:30 tomorrow morning.

Here's the bullet point details:
  • What: Two left lanes of westbound I-10 closed overnight, temporary total closure of westbound I-10 that should last about a half hour.
  • Where: Westbound I-10 main lanes between New Braunfels Ave and Gevers St.
  • When: Tonight (May 19) starting at 11:00, with all lanes reopened by 5:30 a.m. May 20.
  • Why: Remove the overhead sign board support truss that was damaged in last night's crash.
When Austin Bridge shuts down all highway lanes, we'll route traffic onto the frontage road. Officers will be on hand to help move traffic through the area.

By the way, this is called an "emergency closure" because it's a closure that allows critical maintenance or repair work to be done to improve a safety issue. Our closures typically require 48 hours' notice or more - but emergency closures are done on only a few hours' notice.

Monday, May 18

Mail bag: I-10 Leon Springs, Wurzbach Parkway and much more.

In the last week, we've gotten a number of questions in the mail bag. Thanks for the questions and for your involvement! This blog is for you; please keep letting us know what kind of questions you'd like us to answer and we'll get the best info we can for you. Here are the answers you've sought this week:

What is the latest status on Wurzbach Parkway? Do you finally have a timeline to connect the east side with 281? The west side with 281? All? Will the lights on NW Military be removed or are they here to stay (that is fine too, just wanted to know)? Thank you!
- Gonzalo

So many questions at once! We'll try to answer appropriately.
The final segment of Wurzbach Parkway, connecting West Avenue to Jones-Maltsberger, will be finished in a single piece. The remaining contract time shows this project finishing near the end of this year, but Williams Brothers is running ahead of schedule. The reason we don't have an exact timeline beyond "this summer" is because the actual promised delivery is late 2015.
That aside, we are still anticipating opening the parkway - including exit ramps to U.S. 281 - later this summer. Weather, obviously, can impact this, but the contractor is motivated to get this work finished so crews can be moved to other projects.
As for the lights at NW Military and Wurzbach Parkway, we do not currently have plans to build over or around them. That might come in the future at some point - that all depends on folks who participate in the public input process through the Alamo Area MPO as it seeks to prioritize transportation projects (that could include you!). For now, it's not on our radar.

When will the turn north to south turn around south of Nakoma be reopened?I thought I read that it would be closed for 6 months but it has been more like 1 1/2 years. Most days there has been no work done from the day before. 
- Tom

That's a great question, Tom. You're right - the original plan was to have that turnaround closed just six months while the new northbound exit ramp to Wurzbach Parkway was constructed.
In the process, though, Williams Brothers ran into some issues with the electrical connections and the TransGuide lines. Those issues were all engineering and placement focused - and the segment of the turnaround to be rebuilt had already been demolished when these issues were discovered. In fact, it was through the demolition we found them.
In the meantime other portions of the project needed to progress, so crews kept working. We are working on the exit ramp, as well as other features along the northbound frontage road. While it may not seem like actual work is happening at that location a lot of work that needs to occur north of Nakoma in order for the work at Nakoma to be finished is happening every day. Well, every day we don't have monsoon-like rains.
Additionally, the project needed to wait for the right crews to finish the turnaround work. The same crew that digs ditches doesn't do the work on concrete for a bridge. That'd be like asking a finance clerk to handle marketing for a major corporation; both are incredibly qualified at their jobs, but not at each others. With the construction of the new south-to-north turnaround ramping up, expect to see those crews working on what's left of the north-to-south turnaround.
Also, expect to see more activity finishing the new northbound exit to Wurzbach Parkway (located about where the Bitters Road exit is now). That new exit should be active in a few short weeks.
All in all - and the real, bottom-line answer you're looking for - is we'll have that turnaround working again early summer. 

What is up with all of the construction on Babcock, specifically near the Huebner/Wurzbach area?  It seems like the construction has been going on for forever.  By the way, love the blog. I'm glad there is something that lets everyone know what is going on in the city. 
- Chris

Great question! Babcock Road is a city road, and the projects to which you're referring are maintained by the city of San Antonio. Looking at the city's capital projects widget, it looks like the work at the intersection of Hamilton Wolfe and Babcock ("Imp. Ph IX") should be wrapping up in the next few weeks. For other areas along Babcock, reach out to the city's Transportation and Capital Improvements department.
Thanks for keeping up with the blog, Chris - we'll do what we can to keep you up to speed on TxDOT projects throughout the area!

What is the completion date for the work on U.S. 281 at Hwy 46? It seems like it's been going on forever.
- Michael

This project will build turnarounds on U.S. 281 at Hwy 46 in Bulverde. CRG, the contractor on the project, initially approached us with a proposal to build the retaining walls (the bulk of the work on the project) in a different way than we had designed.
Because they couldn't show us an adequate cost savings (or an improvement in quality), we declined this proposal.
CRG has subcontracted some of the work (they weren't fully equipped to construct the walls as planned), but they're moving a lot slower than we'd like. Some of that is due to weather (seriously, this is the wettest winter/spring we've had in like five or six years) but weather can't be blamed for everything. We're holding their feet to the fire with all the avenues available - all of which involve money. As long as the contractor is prosecuting the contract (even if it's slow) we can't just default them and move on.

I was wondering if you could open up the lane that is blocked off at the corner of Old Fredericksburg and Ralph Fair (on corner there is a dirt mound). It seems that there isn't construction that is to be done on  the turn lane as you are headed toward I-10 on Ralph Fair and turning right (west) onto Old Fredericksburg Rd. Can you open up that turn lane for the time being for all those that live in the subdivisions along Old Fred Rd.? 
- Robin

After pinging the project engineer on that project, it seems we still need to complete a driveway and widening in that area - which will likely be the focus of work once the bridge is complete and opened to full capacity in a couple of weeks. We would already have that intersection opened up if we were completed
For the record, a right turn lane onto Old Fred Rd is not in the plans for this project. Once the road creeps east/north of Old Fred, it transitions from a two-lane road to a four-lane road to match the new bridge. You'll still be turning onto Old Fred from an active lane, just like you are today.

Can you expand on the I-10 Leon Springs project just a bit? Primarily concerning the traffic signal plan at the new off ramp onto Boerne Stage Road? My understanding, by looking at the plans, is that there will be a traffic signal at the off-ramp, another one at Boerne Stage Road and yet another at the HEB entrance. Will there really be three stop lights in that short distance? If so, how will this keep traffic congestion from getting worse in that area? 
- Beau

You bet! There's a good bunch of information online already right here. As for the signals - yes, we are building a new signalized intersection at Boerne Stage Road with the new westbound frontage road that's running through the old park-and-ride location at Leon Springs. That would mean you've got a signal right there by Rudy's, the new intersection we're now constructing, the intersection with the eastbound frontage road and the new signal at HEB.
Excessive? Perhaps. But growth is continuous in the area, and we're trying to do our best to keep folks safe.
We don't really have much say about the signals along Boerne Stage Road - that's all the city and the county. We can't not build a signal at the intersection of Boerne Stage and the new frontage road, though.
The good news is those signals are all "smart" - they talk to one another and operate on a detection system. That system, called a VIVD system, helps stream cars through these intersections - even if there are several intersections to work through.

The proposed managed lanes extend such a short distance, would it really be cost-beneficial? What are the benefits?
- Regina

Regina, this would be an amazing question to ask the folks at tomorrow night's open house - all the experts will be on hand to discuss the issue in-depth.
Truthfully, this blog isn't the right format to delve into all the issues surrounding the question. There are a few basics, though, and folks should understand those. The real issue here is funding, and the lack of available funds through the means currently given to the state. Building highways is extremely expensive (a single interchange, done in full, can cost nearly a billion dollars in most instances!), and in order to get some projects built state and local officials are getting increasingly creative with funding options.
That's part of what you'll talk about tomorrow night.
Anyone with questions like Regina's, or any questions at all about how managed lanes work, should simply attend the public meeting. It runs from 5 until 7 and is in an open house format - no formal presentations here - at the Leon Springs Baptist Church. That's the absolute level-best way to get answers on this topic, and get them fast.

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