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Tuesday, June 30

Mail Bag: mowing, closures and more

Thanks to your input, we've scrapped the idea of going with a new format on our weekly lane closures and we'll return to our original format full-time. That is, closures are separated by highway, with planned closures listed chronologically by start date within each heading. Regional locations are found in parentheses in the closure information.

More than 90 percent of our respondents asked for us to return to the "old way", and that's exactly what we're doing. THANK YOU to those who provided input and helped us keep this the most effective resource for you we can make.

With that aside, let's get on to this week's (overdue!) Mail Bag:

Are there road construction-related closures on I-10 between Houston and San Antonio during the day?
- Marilinda

Though we pride ourselves on being "OneDOT" within the department (that is, we're all the same TxDOT), each district is pretty limited to a specific geographic area. This route crosses three different districts, which means you're relying on three different resources for answers here.

That said, we've tried to centralize some of that information. You should be able to find major closure information state-wide on our mobile site (do not use this while actually driving - let a passenger use it, or pull to the side of the road to use it). You'll find anything that's out of the ordinary posted there, listed and located on a handy little map. It's pretty great, actually. Any time you're traveling across this great state, you'll want to make this a part of your trip planning!

Please know, however, we don't often have closures during the day on major interstates like I-10, I-35, I-20, etc. That's just a state-wide best practice. If we have an emergency closure (like we had in Gonzalez County a couple of weeks ago), that's a bit different. But in general, we'll keep away from closures on these highways during the day.

When will the mowing be completed on Loop 1604 between Bandera and I-10?
- Zane

This is a common question all over the place, not just along Loop 1604. Routinely, TxDOT mows two times per year. The department also performs safety mowing as needed at intersections, driveways and on the inside of curves. Mowing in active construction zones may be done more often - as needed - depending on the construction contract requirements.

The first mowing cycle typically begins in mid-May to June 1 to allow wildflowers to seed. The start date is dependent on the local growing season. With the unprecedented rainfall in Texas in May, TxDOT has had difficulty getting mowing started because the roadside ditches are too wet. Mowing wet ditches is destructive and slow. The excessive rain has also prompted faster growth of vegetation and that growth will last a longer period. Mowing is now underway across the state and it will take time to get caught up.

Unfortunately, we don't have an exact schedule for all locations. We're hitting priority locations first, then moving to areas where the grass has become an eyesore. Please know we're aware of the areas that have need, and we're getting to it as quickly as we can.

By the way, the reason mowing was done from Culebra to Hausman(ish) is because that's done by a construction contractor with crews on that location all the time. Their construction limits don't reach further, so they won't mow beyond the area they've already mowed.

I was looking at the expansion of UTSA Boulevard and am off Hausman, is there any plans for a road from Hausman to UTSA more towards I-10? Like the JV Bacon road to Babcock, it would be a great addition for all the subdivisions over here. When all the work is done, it will look great, thanks for all you do.
- Eva

This idea is something we hear about from time to time - a connector between UTSA Blvd and Hausman Rd - but it's not something TxDOT would do. If this were something that would happen, that would be through the city of San Antonio.

The expansion of UTSA Boulevard is in full swing now, however. Just two weeks ago we got word from utilities companies that still had some moving to do that we were clear to proceed with our work.

For those not familiar with this project, we are expanding UTSA Boulevard (we call it Spur 53) to a five-lane road. That's two lanes each way plus a center left-turn lane. We're adding some space for those hiking or biking or jogging, plus a shoulder area. The project will take about two years to complete. The $9 million project is being built by a new-to-us contractor, SMC Contractors. They've been around, but they've not worked with us in the San Antonio area before.

The first bunch of work you can expect, Eva, will be on the south side of the road (eastbound side). Closures on this road shouldn't get kicked up until mid-July.

I hear you are now saying the Wurzbach Parkway won't be finished until the end of the year. I just want to know when the bike trail opens completely.
- Tony

Tony, where are you hearing that from? We've been trying to remain consistent in our message here. The contractor has until the end of the year to finish work on the project. However, we fully anticipate the work will finish much sooner - likely late this summer, as long as we can get some days with the sun out and the rain ... well, not out.

The bike trail that will effectively connect Hardberger Park with the rest of Salado Creek Greenway will open with the roadway. Until we're done with the road work, that area is still an active construction project and riding along the trail is discouraged and dangerous.
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