Friday, March 18

Another month, another project starting

Our district's third project funded by Proposition 1 funds is set to start next week. This project will construct a new overpass on I-10 at Old Fredericksburg Road just west of Ralph Fair Road and will convert the I-10 frontage roads between Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway to one-way.

Conversion of the frontage roads will be among the final items to be done on this project and will not happen until the new overpass at Old Fredericksburg Road is finished and traffic is operational under the overpass.

With a work start date of late March, we expect the project to wrap up mid-2018 (a little more than two years). The project features two major milestones, including time limits for the contractor, Sundt Construction, to build temporary lanes for I-10 traffic through the area as well as for the new main lanes and the overpass to be complete. All told, those first two phases are expected to be completed before the end of summer 2017. The final phases will reconstruct the frontage roads and convert them to one-way while also reconfiguring some drain structures. Those final phases will take about a year to wrap up.

Most of the lane closures for this project will occur overnight, and careful planning has been undertaken to avoid impacting daily commuters. An innovative construction sequence has been employed with this project, shifting the main lanes over - further away from one another - to open up a clear work area between eastbound and westbound traffic for Sundt to work on the new overpass during the second phase of work (the first phase, again, is to move traffic over to provide that work area). This should mean traffic along I-10 will be relatively uninhibited during construction. The frontage roads will continue as two-way frontage roads, separated from the main lanes by tall barrier, during the course of construction.

We may need to use weekend closures to hang bridge support beams; those closures will be announced as they become imminent. These closures will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Total project cost of this project is about $35 million, of which $31.2 million is construction costs. We don't anticipate any major utility conflicts on this project - which should help keep work on schedule as the project progresses. Work will be done seven days a week on this project, with occasional days off for major holidays.

During construction the speed limit on the main lanes of I-10 will be lowered to 60 miles per hour; drivers should keep in mind fines double in work zones and this is a project that will be running around-the-clock. Also, work zone citations cannot be mitigated by attendance of a drivers' safety class like other citations can. All that aside, this is our office - please drive safely so we can all return from work each day safely!