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Monday, June 29

Fred-Med thru lanes open; more on that project

As of 9:45 this morning, the through lanes on Medical Drive running under Fredericksburg Road. This is the culmination of nearly two decades of work as folks with the South Texas Medical Center Foundation to get this potentially life-saving intersection improvement finished.
The first official vehicle to use the new through lanes of Medical Drive at Fredericksburg Road was this San Antonio Fire Department ambulance, which ran through ceremoniously with lights going. Within a half hour of this, normal traffic was moving through.

The project's intent is to provide free-flowing through lanes on Medical Drive, getting through the busy intersection of Fredericksburg Road. This should reduce travel time from I-10 to hospital facilities along Medical Drive by as much as 60 seconds in emergency situations.

While the through lanes are finished, crews still have work remaining on the overall intersection. Most of that work is electrical work, being done by a subcontractors. This work includes some fixes for the issues folks are seeing with the traffic signals on the surface level of the intersection.

Expect to see crews working around-the-clock, though not with the same intensity you've seen in previous weeks, to finish project items like sidewalk and curb work. Overnight work through this week will allow striping crews to finish the striping on the new road lanes (right now we have reflective lane marking tabs). Texas Sterling Construction also has some landscaping work left, and that will be the last bit of work to be finished.

Since we've had a couple of questions related to the Fred-Med project hit our mailbag, it just seems appropriate to answer them here....

The Fred-Med project looks like a great, unique solution to the traffic in that area. Are there plans to employ a similar solution elsewhere in the area?
In short, not right now. Though if there are some locations something like this would make sense, we'd certainly be up for it. Keep in mind that, after all the right-of-way was acquired and the project was finished out, this endeavor cost around $20 million. There's a lot we could do with $20 million....

I don't know if you guys are still reconsidering the placement of the signals at Fred-Med, but if you are or if you do in the future, may I suggest going with mast arms adjusted to be positioned closer to the center of the intersection so turning traffic doesn't stop in the middle and clog up traffic?
- Brian

Right now we have a series of fixes for the issue you're describing. Yes, people are still turning left onto Fredericksburg Road and stopping mid-intersection. They shouldn't be, but they are. We've got louvers planned to be placed in the signal, and those are designed to restrict visibility to where only traffic intended to be controlled by those signals can see them (or see the light color). If that doesn't work, our partners with the city of San Antonio have suggested mounting some signals on the pedestrian poles - a slightly more expensive fix, but something that's doable.

If THAT doesn't do the trick, we'll need to look into something a little more expensive. That may include a set-up similar to what you're suggesting, with a truss spanning the intersection and holding the signals for the whole shebang. That's not done anywhere else around town, but this is a fairly unique intersection as it is....

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