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Thursday, February 11

I-35 SAMMC still working thru Rodeo weeks

Any time we have a project within immediate proximity of the AT&T Center during the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo we dramatically limit lane closures to promote efficient traffic flow. By the way, we keep a sharp eye on the Spurs home schedule to give the same treatment where we can there, also....
With that in mind - and the lingering fact we've not posted an update on these projects in a while - this post will give a look at what's happened and what to expect in upcoming weeks. By the way, the work between George Beach and AT&T Center Parkway is on pace to wrap up by the start of summer (this year). The expansion project between Windcrest and the I-410 southern interchange should wrap up by early 2017.

Street lights
We get calls on a very regular basis asking about the street lights out along the stretch of these projects. Because only street lights at intersections and ramps really serve a safety purpose, we've installed temporary lighting where needed. The other lights are mostly aesthetic; cars have headlights to help drivers see at night. We include lighting along these stretches at the request of local municipalities.
Crews have cut the power lines to these lights as they work on new structures in the vicinity, and are planning to reuse the existing conduit for the new lines that will power up the overhead lights. Connecting those power lines will be among the last tasks to be complete on the project; live wires pose a hazard to dirt crews digging in the area, and copper theft generally keeps out contractors from running the wires until they're ready to power the lines.

Salado Creek area
The next major thing to happen is completion - well, partial completion - of a new southbound exit ramp to AT&T Parkway. That should happen by early March. The ramps around Binz-Engleman should be rebuilt and open back up in time for Battle of Flowers (if weather cooperates).
Crews are continuing what work they can on the new auxiliary lanes of the main lanes these next few weeks, so long as the work doesn't require closures. Once the rodeo has wrapped up we'll start looking at schedules for resurfacing the main lanes and doing all the right asphalt work. Hopefully by then the overnight temperatures are high enough to lay asphalt anyway.
Electricians are working in the conduit for wires controlling those lights as well as TransGuide structures. Where they need to fill some work time into their schedule they'll work on the support columns for new overhead highway signs to be installed at the end of the project.

New direct connector
One of the biggest features of the project is the new southbound I-35 connector to southbound I-410. While traffic is currently exiting to the right to make that switch - which was the goal of this feature - we've still not opened the actual connector traffic will use. Traffic is still using the old connector, which used to be part of a left-hand exit ramp.
Project bosses hope to have that new ramp open by the end of the school year. Once it's open crews can get to work on the new northbound I-35 exit to Rittiman Road, which will weave under the new connector and the northbound I-410 connector to northbound I-35, merging with the I-410/I-35 frontage road just north of Space Center. Eliminating the exiting traffic to Rittiman from the merge of the two busy interstates will contribute significantly to easing congestion in the area.

Rittiman Road intersection
While we're on the topic of Rittiman Road, the north-to-south turnaround could open as early as the start of March. We're also hoping to have currently closed ramps between Rittiman and Eisenhauer to reopen by April, which will launch crews into the next stages of work (and a new list of closed ramps).
Just getting the ramps and the turnaround open at Rittiman won't solve everything, however. We have scheduled a full reconstruction of the road at this intersection, which will require closures later on. As we get nearer to this work we'll have closures to announce (we're a few months away right now). This reconstruction should address some of the clearance issues we've seen with large trucks.