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Monday, November 23

Holiday season closures

We get asked the question in a variety forms every year, so we may as well just address it. If you have a neighbor who's asking this, please pass along word from right here. This isn't just rumor ... this is the way we do things!

The question is whether or not we'll put our projects "on hold" between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The short answer is a simple "no". However ... we have some important caveats.

We will continue work
Construction in many parts of the country is seasonal. In the upper Midwest folks have a running joke where they claim they only enjoy two seasons a year: winter and road construction.
In Texas we are blessed with the ability (weather) to work all year long. This means our projects are less invasive (fewer closures) than the ones up north. Seriously - they shut down entire freeways sometimes or have major closures in the middle of the day to get done what needs done. They have only a small window of the year in which to work, so they do so by performing much more invasive closures than we do.
It also means crews get to work year-round and not worry about income streams through the winter. Crews in other states will often see a reduced workweek or, in extreme cases, see seasonal layoffs.
Bottom line: we want to keep our crews - and the crews working for our construction partners - working through the winter. We also want to ensure we're not plugging up travel lanes used by folks headed to visit friends and family during the busiest holiday season of the year.
We have found a middle ground in this: we do continue to do work; we do not have a ton of lane closures. The work is done behind existing barrier where possible.

We will not do major closures
By practice we do not allow any major closures - that is, major ramp closures or full closures of the main lanes - between about now and the start of January. We do have some long-term closures of some minor operational features currently active that will continue to be closed through the year. Some specific examples include ramps on I-35 near Eisenhauer and the frontage road of US 90 near Hunt Lane.
You will see typical nightly closures on a lot of projects - the ones typically listed as closure of "alternating lanes", where work will be on a single lane at a time and we won't need to hinder overnight traffic all that much. If you're driving along Lp 1604 between Bandera and Culebra, along I-35 between Randolph Blvd and AT&T Center Parkway or on US 90 between I-410 and Lp 1604 you'll still see the normal nightly closures.

Work slowed this time of year
Despite our efforts to push forward this time of year, we are slowed a bit by weather. Hot mix asphalt has a temperature requirement we often dip below overnight. With some of our smaller projects out there where all we've got left is a final layer of asphalt (or something to that effect), we might actually shut down the job until we get back into some strings of warm weather.
If this is the case for the project nearest you, you'll see the orange signs and existing conditions out there but you won't often see guys working. Don't be alarmed - we haven't forgotten the project. We'll be back after it as soon as warm days are upon us again and we can lay asphalt by the truckload.