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Monday, June 15

Mail Bag: potholes, I-10, Wurzbach Parkway, Lp 1604, new subscribe feature

Before we delve into this week's Mail Bag, let us know what you think about the new lane closures format. After all, this blog and its posts are for you and we want to do things in a format suited best for you.

Also, the wet weather we were pummeled by over the weekend (and that's headed our way this week) has a number of consequences. This includes a proliferation of potholes. We're doing what we can to fix the potholes we know about and get to those we hear about from you. The key to avoiding these potholes while you drive, by the way, is to increase your following distance to the recommended 3-plus seconds. This allows enough visual space for a driver to identify normal road hazards, like potholes, and avoid them safely and effectively.

Well, that addresses some comments and questions we've already had in mass since the weekend. Here's a look at a few more specific questions:

The other day I was driving on the WurzbachParkway between Jones-Maltsberger and Thousand Oaks. The new section is fantastic, but I noticed one thing which strikes me as odd - when I got on the highway from Jones-Maltsberger going eastbound, the speed limit is 45 MPH. After Wetmore Road, it goes up to 60. In my unprofessional opinion, the new section is too wide and feels way too slow for the posted 45 MPH. I feel you can definitely drive 60 on it. So my question to you is this: Is the 45 MPH speed limit temporary (until construction ends) or is it permanent? Thanks!
- Mike

It's a good thing most TxDOT vehicles come with cruise control so we can set our speed and be worry free from the temptation of doing 60 MPH on this road!

There are two speeds here - the design speed and the speed that is eventually set through use of speed studies. Because of the inclusion of curbs and sidewalks along the parkway, the design speed is 45 miles per hour. That speed limit can be changed with a speed study and requests from the local municipality. There's a whole process and handbook for stuff like that, if you'd like to go through it all.

The bottom line: expect that 45 MPH speed limit sign to stay where it is (by the way, it's posted at 45 MPH on the west end of the Parkway, between Blanco and West Avenue, also). We'll also be posting 45 MPH signs between West Avenue and Jones-Maltsberger, including the overpass over U.S. 281. Because these are black-and-white signs, they're regulatory. That means our friends with San Antonio Police Department can offer reminders of the posted speed should you be going a little faster. I understand those reminders come only with a fee....

In regards to Braun/1604 overpass - I'm hoping that there are plans to add an additional left-hand turning lane to allow more traffic to get onto 1604 coming from outside the loop. It could really use it. During the school year it can take 5-6 lights cycles to get onto the freeway ... I realize that the project won't be complete until 2016 but it seems like adding another turn lane is something that could be implemented now to reduce some of the pain. Any chances on accelerating this?

JDH! Code names ... feels like we're communicating incognito....

The current plan sheets show a single left-turn lane in each direction with an optional straight/left lane for your direction (eastbound Braun Road to northbound Loop 1604). We'll also have a third lane going through at that location. That configuration (straight, optional, left) won't be in place in full until the project nears completion next year.
This shows the final configuration of Braun Road at Loop 1604 when the expansion is finished next year.
Making the adjustment sooner may require some out-of-sequence work on the traffic signals, which may not be ready (we would have to order new components) for quite a while. That said, we can work with the contractor to accelerate the make the optional straight/left lane happen sooner than later.

We recently opened a new campus on Leslie right before Shaenfield. Needless to say this construction is affecting us greatly so I appreciate the updates to help us anticipate and plan. Would it be possible for you to add a feature where I could subscribe to these updates by email so new posts are delivered to my email? Thanks!
- Jamye

You know, that's a darned good idea. There are several options for subscribing (Google+, feed readers, etc.), but if you look to the left of the screen you'll see we just added a subscription option. This will get you an automated email every time we post.

You'll also see that we've added a "share" widget under the blog posts. If you'd like to share a post using your organization's (or personal) Facebook page or Twitter feed (or Google+, Pinterest, email, etc.), you'll find a small strip of icons at the bottom of each post that allows for an easy share.

Great idea, Jamye. Thanks for helping us evolve and develop this blog a bit! If there were such a thing as a "get out of traffic free" card, we'd be sending you one.

Wow, things have really slowed to a crawl on the construction side of things with Wurzbach Parkway. And no updates on here, either. What's the status?
- Michael

The Wurzbach Parkway project is still on pace to finish this summer - well ahead of the end-of-year deadline on our contract. Most of the work is focused along U.S. 281. Tuesdays are our project meeting days, and we'll get on over there to get you an update this week (this project meets the same time as the I-10 Huebner project, so we have to make a choice each week on which to go to).

A stop sign was just installed at the intersection of W. Hausman Rd. and the eastbound I-10 frontage road (near the Land Rover dealership) on either June 5 or 6. A couple years ago this location was converted from a "T" intersection with a stop sign to more of a curved divisional island intersection without a stop sign in order to improve the flow of traffic. Why was a stop sign reinstalled here after not existing for years? Also, many drivers are completely ignoring the stop sign--maybe because they don't know it is there. How come an Advance Traffic Control sign (W3-1) and a NEW sign (W16-15P) were not installed?
- Matt

Matt, two things. First of all, you've got an obvious extensive understanding of our Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices - kudos!

Second, that stop sign is part of the Hausman Road project operated by the city of San Antonio. The Transportation and Capital Improvements group there will have more information than we will.

The light at Dezavala and the Eastbound side of the I-10 frontage road has issues. The green light cycle only lasts long enough for about 4 cars to get through. As a result, the traffic backs up onto the frontage road. This Saturday, it took me 5 cycles to get through! I feel like the green light cycles on other sides of this intersection are longer. What can I do (i.e., who can I email or call) to help fix this?
- Lauren

Lauren, this is an issue we've noticed as well. We think it was an issue with a sensor that was pointed in the wrong direction - we've got that solved. If it's a timing issue, that's something handled by the city of San Antonio. Most lights across the city - even on our roads - are controlled by them. Sure, we build them and upgrade them if needed ... but they maintain the timing and so forth.
To put your mind at ease, we're in constant contact with the right folks with the city to be sure we're watching the timing at this location to be sure it's running optimally.