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Tuesday, September 22

Loop 1604; bridges, bridges, bridges....

For those who've not driven through Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads for a few weeks ... well, bridges are starting to pop up almost everywhere.

In the last two months (yes, it's only been two months ... well, two-and-a-half) traffic on Loop 1604 has been cleared from the old "main lanes" and onto the new "frontage road" (it's all the same right now...), Williams Brothers Construction has been able to set bridge support beams and start placing bridge deck panels for the Braun Road ovverpass, build drill shafts to support retaining walls and other bridge support structures at New Guilbeau and Shaenfield roads, and begin getting those retaining walls built up at New Guilbeau.

What's more, drill shafts and some retaining walls have started and are well underway for a new overpass taking Hwy 151 over Loop 1604.

The approach WB is taking is really interesting, almost like an assembly line of sorts. As dirt crews finished up with the Braun Road overpass, they moved to the New Guilbeau intersection and made room for the bridge crews to move in at Braun. Now those dirt crews are wrapping up at New Guilbeau, and ready to move on to Shaenfield ... meanwhile, bridge crews are wrapping up at Braun and ready to move south to New Guilbeau.

The process has allowed a tremendous amount of progress to happen in a few short months. Right now project supervisors are saying they could have the new main lanes of Loop 1604 in use as early as this time next year; that is, late summer 2016. Overall completion of the project, including the new direct connector and overpass at Loop 1604 and Hwy 151, is scheduled for the end of 2016.
Here's an interesting bit of work to keep an eye out for: asphalt between Helotes Creek and Braun Road. The walls creating the bridge approaches at New Guilbeau are nearing completion, and as soon as that wraps up Williams Brothers will lay asphalt to start building the main lanes between the two landmarks. This will only be the base layer ... we won't be driving on those main lanes until next year.

At the Braun Road overpass, which has been causing overnight closures of Braun Road at Loop 1604 routinely throughout each of the last few weeks, crews are scheduled to begin building bridge rails through this weekend and next week. WB hopes to have no more need for regular closures on Braun Road by the middle of October.

Progress on the Shaenfield overpass should start getting increasingly more visible by that time. Dirt crews are expected to migrate to Shaenfield in early October, and the overall support structure there should be in place by the end of the year.

If you're driving on Alamo Ranch Parkway, by the way, expect to see a lot more activity over the next few weeks. Crews are moving in to build support columns for the direct connector from southbound Loop 1604 to eastbound Hwy 151, and there's some work needed to begin preparing for the overpass landing for the new Hwy 151 overpass at Loop 1604. That overpass will land at Alamo Ranch Parkway and will be finished by the end of 2016.