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Monday, May 11

Mail bag: you've got questions, we've got answers

A week or two ago we quietly added a "contact us" form to the blog. If you've not noticed, look to the left of the screen. Find it yet? Yeah, you can type up whatever you're wanting to know in that box and it's sent directly to us.

This was done with some cautious optimism. This site is not intended for official feedback regarding TxDOT transportation projects. In fact, if you're wanting to request we do some work in a particular area take a look at the Alamo Area MPO - they're the ones who tell us what to do with our money here in the San Antonio area (and in Comal County, and in Guadalupe County, and in the city of Boerne...). Yes, that's an extremely basic and rudimentary description of the relationship between the MPO and TxDOT, but it gets the point across.

Bottom line: if you're interested in telling us what kind of project you'd like to see us do, talk to the MPO. If you've got a question about an active project, use the comment form on the left of your screen.

Alright, with all that said, it's time to grab out of the mail bag. We'll try to do this at least twice a month (if we've got enough questions!) moving forward: 

Every morning I have to get to 1604 from Hausman to avoid going to the I-10 and DeZavala intersection since it takes 4 or more light changes to get through. I go around to UTSA Blvd off Roadrunner Drive and I think it would help out all the traffic if there was a road like JV Bacon going from Hausman to UTSA Blvd. Might that be a possibility? Something in the works with all the construction going on here? It would be great! ...Just wondering and hoping.
- Eva

Well, Eva, you've got a few questions going on here. So let's take them one at a time....

The light cycles at I-10 and DeZavala should be improved for you now we have the turnarounds open during daytime hours. Beyond that, well, we've worked with the city of San Antonio to optimize those lights. In fact, the city is the lead on signal timing across the city - even on our roadways. There are a handful of intersections we maintain total control of, but the rule of thumb is the city maintains control.

The JV Bacon route is a city street, and the city should be thanked (or at least the contractor building stuff along that corridor who built JV Bacon and handed it over to the city). Hausman Road is also a city street, and the construction there is overseen by the city.

To get to brass tacks, any additional cross streets would be developed by the city and not by TxDOT. The good folks at your city council office can explain that process a little better, or you could go through the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Any update when the Spring Branch post office will be relocated to complete construction on Hwy 281?
- Ray

Great question, Ray. For those who aren't already familiar, the question is about the U.S. 281 expansion through Comal County, where a part of the project had to be altered because of a right-of-way issue involving the U.S. Post Office in Spring Branch. You can see more about this project here.

At this point, the project has been finished. What we did was build a "temporary" detour around the post office you're driving on now, and intend to keep that in place until we're ready to "finish" the road. Last time we checked, we were at least a year away from the post office relocating (that's all in their court). Once the post office is somewhere else, we'll find another contractor to demolish the building and build the rest of the road (there's not much to build). With the road complete, they'll obliterate the detour and put things as we had initially designed. The construction process should only take 4-6 months, but we don't anticipate beginning that until after 2016.

What is the status of the new bridge at Ralph Fair Road? Looks ready to be used but still not open.
- Jason 

The toughest part of construction, I think, is seeing a near-finished project you've patiently waited through a variety of closures to see crews work on. It looks like it's ready to use, but it's not quite there yet. That's the case with the new Ralph Fair Road (FM 3351) overpass at I-10.

We've still got a few smaller items to finish on the bridge, though you'll see traffic move over to use the "full" bridge in the next week or so. That will still only mean one lane each direction, allowing crews to match the first half of the bridge with the second. We anticipate having the full bridge open and in use by the end of this month - as long as weather holds.

One thing that I never see mentioned but I believe is tied in with the Wurzbach Parkway project is the construction of the Salado Creek Greenway between West Ave and Jones-Maltsberger. Will it open at the same time as WP or sooner or later? Thank you.
- Bob

Bob, you're absolutely correct. Along with constructing new parkway lanes (like an expressway, but slower...), we're extending the Salado Creek Greenway so that, when we're finished, the greenway will connect Hardberger Park with McAllister Park. Because of the needs to maintain the roadway portion, which weaves in and out of the trail (shown here in yellow), as a safe work zone, the new greenway remains closed until the parkway if finished. That is currently planned for this summer.

So, to those of you who like walking/hiking/biking the greenways (and there should be more of you out there than there currently are!), we'll ask you to remain patient much the same way we ask drivers who look forward to that final segment of the parkway to be finished. We're in the home stretch!

I'm a huge fan of your blog and truly appreciate being informed about construction in San Antonio. I have a suggestion for the blog: a summary of the work at 1-10 between Huebner and 1604 including before and after photos, if available. As a driver who passes this section of road each day, I can "feel" the difference but can't quite remember what it was like before the construction started. A good summary with photos can help us, the commuters, really appreciate all the work that has been done. Thanks for considering. 
- Amjed

Amjed, thanks for your fanhood. Spread the word! You've made a fine suggestion, so here's a peek:

Westbound main lanes at the old Woodstone/new DeZavala exit. Old is on the left, new on the right.
From the west-to-east turnaround at UTSA Boulevard, this look eastward shows a before-and-after look at the main lanes over DeZavala Road. The left photo was taken in 2013, after Webber Construction took over the project from Ballenger Construction. The photo at right was taken earlier this month.

I know that's not the best look at what you were hoping for, but finding a good "before" photo from UTSA Boulevard was tough to find!

There you go - our first "Mail Bag" entry. Have a question you'd like answered? Send us your question in the form on the left!