Though project bosses with WB are hesitant to say exactly how far ahead they are running, the truth is they are indeed running ahead of schedule. Drivers in the area should be able to use the new expressway lanes as early as this summer.
To help facilitate this fast-paced work WB will open the north-to-south turnaround at New Guilbeau this week (before Christmas). If you've not yet noticed, you'll see electricians installing and connecting the new traffic signals at that location. If the signals aren't operable by Christmas Eve, don't expect to see them turned on until January 3. These signals are critical to having the turnaround - and the full intersection, for that matter - opened at New Guilbeau.
By the way, when this intersection opens up the turnarounds north of Shaenfield will be closed.
After New Guilbeau is opened crews will really focus on getting the Shaenfield intersection opened up. Right now the guys calling the shots with WB say that will happen about a month after New Guilbeau is up and running.
What does this accomplish for everyone?
First it means drivers will be driving on fully functional frontage roads. This may come with some growing pains as crews time the signals for optimal traffic flow.
More importantly it means Williams Brothers will be free to finish working on the main lanes of the highway, including construction on the entrance and exit ramps. Most of this work is extremely weather-sensitive, so expect it to be slow going until the weather dries up for us and gets a little warmer.
Even with this constraint we could see a near-finished product this summer.
The new direct connector from southbound Loop 1604 onto eastbound Highway 151 - including the overpass of Hwy 151 over Loop 1604 - is on pace to be complete by the end of 2016. If this is part of your realm, you'll see the bridge crews from Braun, New Guilbeau and Shaenfield move to these structures in the very near future.