Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 14

Loop 1604 - the new configuration

The number one question folks have asked this week as traffic has shifted from the main lanes onto the new frontage roads of Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads is how long this configuration will last.
The answer: about a year. With traffic on the frontage roads, Williams Brothers Construction will be able to move quickly on the proposed overpasses at Shaenfield and New Guilbeau roads, finishing the work in about a year (opposed to a traffic set-up that's only marginally different, requiring a construction duration of more than two years).

As different and perceptionally difficult as the new configuration seems, the truth is - measured by engineering measurements tracking traffic flow and traffic signal queueing times - traffic flows are actually better than they were a week ago or more. As drivers get used to this new configuration, we expect even better traffic flows.
Turnarounds serving traffic wanting to turn "left" onto Shaenfield and New Guilbeau make Lp 1604 a true "Michigan Left" with no actual left turns allowed along the route.
The new configuration features a true Michigan Left, where traffic must turn right in order to turn "left", and no left turns are permitted. Traffic traveling northbound from Hwy 151, for instance, must travel beyond Shaenfield and use a turnaround in order to make that "left" turn onto Shaenfield. Similarly, southbound traffic from Bandera Road must continue beyond New Guilbeau and use a turnaround to make that "left" turn onto New Guilbeau. Along the stretch, we've got a right-in, right-out only set-up.
Detour signs trailblaze the way for traffic on southbound Lp 1604 to New Guilbeau.

The biggest thing drivers need to remember: The posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour.
Note the speed limit along this stretch of Loop 1604 - and note that police departments do charge a "fee" for a reminder of this speed limit. Take this as your free reminder and slow down!

 So ... what's next?

Crews working on the Braun Road overpass (which has been built out-of-sequence to accelerate the project somewhat) are scheduled to move to New Guilbeau and Shaenfield roads in the next week or two. Drill shafts, providing the foundational support for bridge support columns, will be built first as dirt crews begin building retaining walls to contain dirt to support the bridge approaches on each side of these intersections.

Similar drill shafts and columns have been built for the new overpass of Hwy 151 at Lp 1604 already, and crews are working hard at that location. No major closures are expected for this work until bridge crews are ready to hang bridge support beams and do overhead bridge work - that work is still far enough away that we don't even have a tentative schedule available to publish.

In the meantime, project supervisors are committing to making routine checks on the traffic flow to look for opportunities for improvement along the project. While we want to get this project finished as fast as possible, we also want to ensure folks driving through the area are able to do so with minimal inconveniences.