Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 31

Flooding and driving: some straight talk

This year has been one of the wettest on record for the great state of Texas, and we have more rain coming. Among the benefits locally to these rains is the news Medina Lake has finally reached full capacity, with water flowing over the spillway earlier today.

Overall and in the short-run, though, the damage has been pretty rough. Last year the wet weather boosted bug populations  and facilitated a reptile migration - which could certainly be repeated. But even the uptick in alligators and water moccasins isn't the worst threat these rains bring.

That dubious position goes to flash-flood drowning. Sadly, many of these deaths are individuals who either decided to ignore constant warnings from state and local officials by driving through water over the roadway or are individuals attempting to rescue those trapped in a car caught in water. Just over this passed weekend the death toll reached 7 statewide.

We had a number of "funny" memes made up to try and take a light-hearted approach to this issue, but it simply doesn't seem to fit at this point. This isn't a funny issue. Lives are being put at risk while working to rescue those caught in the floods. These are emergency responders, good Samaritans and even TV reporters. While we love to read and hear about these heroic stories, the reality is these stories should never even have happened.

Over the last month the regional Twitterverse has seen more than 300 tweets with the hashtag #TurnAroundDontDrown. It's a phrase used in literally every media interview conducted by state and local authorities, including our folks. It's a phrase promoted by journalists and pundits and social media experts.

And, yet, the message just isn't sinking in. We're doing all we can here, folks. Heck, just this morning we posted on Facebook a reminder of why we keep saying this. By the way, that post had nearly 1,200 shares by 2:30 this afternoon.

Most people caught in the waters end up looking silly and get themselves on social media. They end up becoming the butt of a snarky meme. That, or they're rescued by folks willing to risk themselves to un-do the consequences of incredibly poor judgment.

We get it. You just want to go home (the final epitaph of one man caught in rising waters last week). However, if you try to cross a low-water crossing you just might not ever get there. At the very least, your car will be pretty well junked. If you've crossed a barricade to get through the water you'll be hit with some major fines.

Worst of all, someone - perhaps a loved one or a good Samaritan trying to help - could lose their life.

So, in the name of all those who've fallen victim before, we'll continue our constant reminders. We'll keep talking and emailing and blogging and Facebooking and tweeting about it until finally we'll have a flood event completely devoid of cars caught in creeks. We may say it with an eye-roll and a bit of frustrated snark from time to time - particularly when we say something like "Don't become the subject of a meme".

Please know, in those moments, those words aren't necessarily the words of a large nebulous government agency. Those are the words of your fellow Texans; they're the words of individuals who care and are frustrated by the news stories telling of folks who "think they can make it" and ignore the literally hundreds of warnings to the contrary.

Those are the words of individuals - at TxDOT in San Antonio, from Josh or from Laura - who hope you do get to see your family at the end of the day and want you to be safe.

And we'll keep saying it until the message finally gets through to every single person.

Turn around, don't drown. Don't drive through water over the road. It only takes six inches of water to carry a full-sized pickup truck. You don't really know what's under that water. Find an alternate route. In the midst of a major storm, if you don't have to travel ... don't. Go to work late, or stay at work late. Wait out the storm and the flood waters where possible. Evacuate if flood waters are approaching you. Get uphill.

Spread the word.

Friday, May 27

From the folks in Austin: tips on planning your summer trips

If you’re planning a road trip this summer, the Texas Department of Transportation offers the Texas State Travel Guide, Texas Highways Events Calendar and Texas Official Travel Map to help you get where you’re going and have fun along the way.
“Whether you have a particular destination in mind or are just planning to explore Texas, these publications will help you every mile of your trip,” said Joan Henderson, TxDOT’s Travel Information Division director. “Texas is big, and so is the list of things to do and places to see offered in these publications. Plus, the travel information is free.”
The 264-page Travel Guide offers features on history, arts and culture, music, food, shopping, sports, family activities and the outdoors. In addition, you’ll find information on more than 450 cities and 3,000 attractions. The city and attraction listings are separated into regions and each has a section highlighting some of the must-see places.
The Events Calendar is published quarterly by season. The summer edition, available now, includes events ranging from festivals and fairs to rodeos, food events, music, art and museum exhibits, theatrical performances and market days.
The Texas Official Travel Map shows highways, farm/ranch roads, airports, communities and recreational areas to assist travelers in safely exploring the state.
Pick up these publications at any of the 12 Texas Travel Information Centers across the state. They also may be ordered online or by calling (800) 452­-9292.
Along with the free travel publications, summer vacationers will find a wealth of destination information and colorful feature stories in Texas Highways magazine. Founded as a travel magazine in 1974, the award-winning Texas Highways today has nearly 400,000 monthly readers across the United States and around the world. Look for Texas Highways magazine at hundreds of newsstands statewide, including H-E-B, Target, Walmart, Randall’s and Barnes & Noble, or subscribe online.

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 2. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Fair Oaks Parkway and Ralph Fair Road. The left lane will close while crews shift traffic lanes.
  • Wednesday-Friday, June 1-3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Fair Oaks Parkway and Ralph Fair Road. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
I-10 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 2. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and I-35. The right lane will close while crews do guardrail work.
  • Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 3. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and I-35. The right lane will close while crews lay asphalt.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Current thru June 2016. Exit ramps, both directions, to Eisenhauer Road. The ramps will close while crews build a new exit ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach Eisenhauer Road.
  • Current thru June 2016. Northbound entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The ramp will close while crews build a new entrance ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, May 31-June 2. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Frontage roads, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Frontage roads, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Friday, June 3 at 10 p.m. until Sunday, June 5 at 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. All lanes will close while crews repave the road. Traffic will exit George Beach and continue along the frontage road to the next available ramp.
  • Saturday-Sunday, June 4-5. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. Alternating lanes will close, two at a time, while crews do concrete work.
I-410 – Southwest San Antonio
  • Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 2. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Medina Base Road and I-35. The right lane will close while crews pave the roadway.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Current until July 2016. Westbound frontage road between Hunt Lane and East Kriewald. The frontage road will close while crews reconstruct the Medio Creek Bridge.
Loop 1604 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Friday-Saturday, May 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5 p.m. Northbound exit ramp to New Guilbeau. The ramp will close while crews pave the roadway. Traffic will exit Shaenfield and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Friday-Saturday, May 27-28. 9 p.m. until 5 p.m. Southbound entrance ramp from New Guilbeau. The ramp will close while crews pave the roadway. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. until Sunday, May 29 at 5 p.m. Southbound exit ramp to Culebra Road. The ramp will close while crews pave the roadway. Traffic will exit Shaenfield and follow the frontage road to reach its destination. This closure will begin after work on the southbound entrance ramp from New Guilbeau finishes.
  • Saturday, May 28 at 6 p.m. until Monday, May 30 at 5 a.m. Southbound entrance ramp from Shaenfield Road. The ramp will close while crews pave the roadway. Traffic will use the next available ramp. This closure will begin after work on the southbound exit ramp to Culebra Road finishes.
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Frontage road, both directions, at Braun Road. The right lane and right turn lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. South-to-north turnaround at New Guilbeau. The turnaround will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Bandera and Braun roads. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road at Shaenfield Road. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Culebra and Braun roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews pave the roadway.
  • Monday, May 30-Thursday, June 16. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound main lanes between Bandera and Culebra roads. The left lane or shoulder will close, as needed, to do concrete work.
  • Tuesday, May 31. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Westbound frontage road connector to the I-10 westbound frontage road. The connector will close while crews repair the concrete barrier. Local business traffic will be permitted.
  • Tuesday, May 31-Thursday, June 2. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound entrance ramp from Culebra Road. The ramp will close while painters paint the bridge rail.
  • Thursday-Friday, June 2-3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at Shaenfield. The right lane will close while painters paint the bridge rail. This closure includes the exit ramp to New Guilbeau. Traffic will exit Shaenfield and continue along the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Friday-Saturday, June 3-4. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound entrance ramp from Shaenfield. The ramp will close while painters paint the bridge rail.
  • Saturday-Sunday, June 4-5. Northbound main lanes at New Guilbeau. The right lane will close while painters paint the bridge rail.
Hwy 151 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, July 1 at 5 p.m. East-to-West turnaround at I-410. The turnaround will close while crews work on bridge support structures overhead.
  • Current until December 2016. Westbound exit ramp to Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Current until December 2016. Eastbound entrance ramp from Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
Other roads – Kendall County
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between Thunder Valley Road and I-10. The road will be reduced to one lane, controlled by off-duty police, while crews repair the road.
Other roads – Schertz
  • Tuesday, May 31-Wednesday, June 1. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 3009 intersection at Antler Drive. Alternating lanes will close and the signals will be shut off while crews reconnect wiring. Police officers will manage traffic at this intersection.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eisenhauer Road, both directions, at I-35. The left lane will close while crews work on the overpass bridge.
  • Tuesday-Friday, May 31-June 3. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Rittiman Road, both directions, at I-35. The left lane will close while crews work on the overpass bridge.
Other roads – Southeast San Antonio
  • Tuesday, May 31-Friday, June 3. 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. W.W. White (Loop 13), both directions, between Fairlawn and I-10. The left lane will close while crews repair the road.
Other roads – West San Antonio
  • Thursday, June 2. 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Potranco road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Empressario Drive. Crews working for Bexar County Public Works will shift traffic to facilitate a safe work zone for the expansion work on Potranco Road.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday, May 30-Sunday, June 12. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Braun Road, both directions, at Loop 1604. The left lane will close while crews do concrete work.
All closures are pending weather.

Thursday, May 26

Walnut Avenue to open TODAY (and other New Braunfels updates)

It's been a while since our last update on projects in the New Braunfels area ... and now we've got something kind of major happening today. Here's the scoop:

Walnut Avenue
Lead with the biggest story, right? By the end of business today we'll have Walnut Avenue opened up to traffic. It'll only be one lane in each direction (so, basically, exactly what was out there when we shut things down last year).
Traffic will be using the center lanes to traverse the hill. Crews are still doing concrete work across the project, so we're keeping those outside lanes closed the next several weeks while crews wrap things up.
The center line is striped and traffic cones mark the closed-off outside lanes. Walnut Ave should be ready to open today.
Once concrete work is complete paving crews will lay the final surface of asphalt to give a final product. We hope that final product will be delivered by the end of July.

FM 306
One of the biggest issues along FM 306 near New Braunfels is the traffic load at the intersection of Hoffman Lane - largely due to school in the mornings and in the afternoons.
We currently have a project going between Hoffman and Hunter that's expanding FM 306 to four lanes (plus a center left-turn lane and shoulders large enough for bicycles), and we're right now about one-third the way through this project. By the way, we have another project set to go for bids later this year that will extend this work on out to River Chase.
At any rate, we've been asked about the impact on that approach to Hoffman Elementary School. Here's what we'll have things looking like when we're finished:
Just for comparison, here's what's out there now:
Note only one through lane in each direction and the lack of sidewalks and bike areas ... the finished product will be a huge help to folks driving through the region on the daily.

Hwy 46 at US 281
If you're thinking how embarrassing it must be for us to see so much infrastructure pop up around us faster than it's taken for us to build some simple turnarounds, you're absolutely right. Those turnarounds should have been finished months ago, and we're still docking CRG about $20,000 each month we're not finished. The latest estimates show the project wrapping up before school starts this fall; we plan to do all we can to see this job finished earlier than that, even, if possible.

FM 1101
Most of the utility conflicts that have kept us from doing this work (and, yes, we've been waiting more than a year and a half on this now) are out of the way. At this point the project hinges on some discussions between our higher administrative folks and their counterparts with Hunter Industries. When Hunter bid the project in 2014, they did so under prices valid in 2014. Well, it's been two years and things have changed. Both parties are looking for an equitable middle ground to settle on and allow work to get going.
Once work begins - which we hope will be very soon - we expect about a year and a half of overall construction time.

Wednesday, May 25

I-10 Leon Springs: an issue of right turns....

Not long ago we opened up the new westbound I-10 frontage road connector between Dominion Drive and Boerne Stage Road. When we did that we were nearly immediately asked why we aren't allowing right turns off that new frontage road onto Boerne Stage Road.

To be completely honest, most of us here can't think of a good reason anyone would want to do this. We've talked to our designers - including some who have extensive commuter experience with this area - and our construction staff ... we even asked a few pencil-pushers who know the area. Nobody could see why this would be a movement folks would want that badly.
Everyone we talked to say the same thing: "Why not just stay to the right and go through Leon Springs the old-fashioned way?"
Our area engineer overseeing the project even pointed out going the Old-Fashioned Way (our official term for going through Leon Springs now, thus the capitalization...) holds just one traffic signal. Using the new westbound frontage road and turning right means going through two signals. And, if the emails we get from residents in that area are any indication, going through traffic signals in this area is not a very fun experience to have. Adding an extra signal just seems like an odd thing to do.
But those were all opinions, and we're about delivering facts here. So, you want to know why - in engineering terms - we don't have a right-turn lane there? There are two reasons:

  1. Traffic engineering. The design intends to push all the traffic headed to Boerne Stage Road west of I-10 onto the new frontage road, where we've got two left-turn lanes to handle the heavy traffic. This was supposed to relieve the pressure on the Leon Springs area so folks headed through the intersection (and on to Aue Road, perhaps) could do so without fighting through the thousands of cars aiming for Boerne Stage Road. With two left turn lanes, by the way, we can push twice as many cars through a signal without having to mess with signal timing - a huge plus.
  2. Turn radius. That right-hand turn is pretty sharp, and we didn't have a ton of room to soften it up any. While it's fine for a commuter car - and even a Texas-sized pickup truck - to make that turn, larger vehicles just won't make it. Not without using other lanes to help, at least.
Of the two reasons, the first is obviously theoretical. It's based on where our planners thought drivers were trying to go as they navigated the intersection.
If, after a period of time, we see a clear demand for that right turn we can look into changing the signs - however, the turn radius is going to be the biggest reason that doesn't ever get done. We'll take a hard look at it, but don't expect to see the change any time soon.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit.

Tuesday, May 24

Loop 1604: Yet another update (and a round of closures)

Look, we get it. We have 12 counties here in the San Antonio District, and we have literally dozens of active projects.

And, yet ... all we're updating here is this project - the Loop 1604 expansion between Bandera and Culebra roads. We're over it, too. The good news is we're on the home stretch; in about three weeks the orange barrels will start to disappear as this project is completed.

In order to get there, we've got a lot of asphalt work to do on the frontage roads. Yes, we've had main lane closures to do this over the last week or so. Now we'll all be enduring frontage road closures. Here's the plan:

Starting tonight (that's May 24 - we found out at about 5 p.m. tonight here in the communications office) Williams Brothers will start near Culebra Road and begin laying asphalt on the northbound frontage road. the aim here is to get all the way to Helotes Creek and then lay asphalt on the southbound frontage road.

Work at the intersection of Shaenfield Road will be limited to overnight work only so we don't end up having lane closures at that intersection during the day.

However, if you're a daytime driver, expect to see just one lane on the frontage road between Culebra Road and Helotes Creek through next Friday. Remember it'll be the northbound side first, then we'll work the southbound side. Also, expect to see some ramp closures as needed (though we'll try to make that happen at night).

Once work up to Helotes Creek is finished, Williams Brothers will continue on through Bandera Road. Again, this will be work on the northbound side first, then they'll turn around and work the southbound side. We'll also make sure to work the intersections overnight to limit the traffic interruptions.

Expect work north of Helotes Creek to begin late next week. If weather holds for us, we'll be through with all this by June 11. (Yes, we just gave a date - but note the "if weather holds" line here....)

If you get stuck in some of this, please remember one key item: come three weeks from now, this project will be all but complete and you'll have a free-flow moving forward.

Friday, May 20

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Fair Oaks Parkway and Ralph Fair Road. The left lane will close while crews lay asphalt and set barrier.
  • Wednesday-Friday, May 25-27. 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Fair Oaks Parkway and Ralph Fair Road. The right lane will close while crews set barrier. This closure will only be employed if work on the left side of the road finishes early.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Friday, May 20 at 10 p.m. until Monday, May 23 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. All lanes will close while crews repave the road. Traffic will exit Splashtown Drive and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Friday, May 20 at 10 p.m. until Monday, May 23 at 5 a.m. Southbound entrance ramp from Walzem. The ramp will close while crews install storm drain. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Friday-Sunday, May 20-22. 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. The left two lanes will close while crews work on median barrier.
  • Friday-Monday, May 20-23. 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Current thru May 2016. Exit ramps, both directions, to Eisenhauer Road. The ramps will close while crews build a new exit ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach Eisenhauer Road.
  • Current thru May 2016. Northbound entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The ramp will close while crews build a new entrance ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews work barriers and light poles.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Friday, May 23-27. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Frontage roads, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Friday, May 23-27. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Frontage roads, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes, upper level, between Brooklyn and I-37. All lanes will close while crews resurface the road. Traffic will exit McCullough and follow the posted detour route.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Sunday-Monday, May 22-23. 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road between Military Drive and Richland Road. All lanes will close while crews work on a storm drain. Traffic will take Military Drive to Hwy 151, then follow the westbound frontage road of Hwy 151 to Ingram Road to reach Richland Road.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Current until May 2016. Westbound frontage road between Hunt Lane and East Kriewald. The frontage road will close while crews reconstruct the Medio Creek Bridge.
Loop 1604 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Friday-Sunday, May 20-22. 9 p.m. until noon nightly. Southbound main lanes between Culebra Road and Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews pave the road. Traffic will exit Culebra, pass through the Culebra Road intersection and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Monday, May 22-23. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Culebra and Shaenfield roads. All lanes will close while crews pave the road. Traffic will exit Culebra, pass through the Culebra Road intersection and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
Hwy 151 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, July 1 at 5 p.m. East-to-West turnaround at I-410. The turnaround will close while crews work on bridge support structures overhead.
  • Current until December 2016. Westbound exit ramp to Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Current until December 2016. Eastbound entrance ramp from Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Sunday-Thursday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Ingram Road and I-410. All lanes will close while crews set overhead bridge support beams. Traffic will exit I-410, follow the frontage road and use the next available ramp to re-enter the highway.
Other roads – Kendall County
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between Thunder Valley Road and I-10. The road will be reduced to one lane, controlled by off-duty police, while crews repair the road.
Other roads – Comal County
  • Sunday-Tuesday, May 22-24. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound Hwy 46 between Old Boerne Road and U.S. Hwy 281. Alternating lanes will close while crews put in conduit for a traffic signal.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eisenhauer Road, both directions, at I-35. The left lane will close while crews work on the overpass bridge.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 22-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Rittiman Road, both directions, at I-35. The left lane will close while crews work on the overpass bridge.
Other roads – Southeast San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, May 22-26. 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. W.W. White (Loop 13), both directions, between Fairlawn and I-10. The left lane will close while crews repair the road.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Tuesday, May 24. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound Grissom  Road (FM 471) at Kellywood Street. The right lane will close while crews do repair work.
  • Wednesday, May 25. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound Grissom Road (FM 471) at Leon Creek. The right lane will close while crews do repair work.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, May 18

Mail Bag: Last words (for now) on Lp 1604, work on I-410, turn lane on BSR

I've been wondering about the frontage road work at I-10 and Hwy 46 in Boerne. It started several months ago, but then just stopped. What happened and is it still going to move forward?
- Corey
Great question, Corey. this project constructs a westbound frontage road between about Crosspoint and West Bandera Rd (Hwy 46). Work began more than a year ago and was initially projected to take no more than eight months to wrap up. Well, Zimmerman Construction wasn't getting work done on schedule nor to the standard of quality we require, so we issued a notice of default before Christmas, removing Zimmerman from the project. Since then we've been working to negotiate a takeover agreement. Zimmerman will likely remain involved, though the personnel - particularly the project superintendent and management team - will be very different. We expect to resume work this summer.
In the meantime, we're continually charging liquidated damages against the contract for the late delivery. As of the end of April, those damages have totaled over $100,000.
The last time something like this happened was on the I-10 project between Loop 1604 and Huebner Road, when Ballenger Construction declared bankruptcy. That default left projects on Loop 1604 and Wurzbach Parkway similarly in the lurch. All of those projects are now complete.

I am seeing construction barrels and signs on I-410 (on the south side) between I-37 and I-35, but I am unable to find information on the website as to what will be happening. Can you point me in the right direction for information?
- Robert
The only place we'll have significant information is on our project tracker web application. The project number is 0521-05-139.
It's a pretty simple and low-key project, which is why you won't find a lot of fanfare on our web site about it. Key details on the project:

  • $6.7 million construction cost
  • Angel Brothers Construction
  • Started late 2014
  • Project replaces guardrail, repairs concrete erosion measures and resurfaces the highway
  • Work runs between about Medina Base Road and I-37

Work has gone a bit slow on this project due to its dependence on good weather. Right now we're about halfway through the work but have taken up almost all the time allowed. We're working with our contractor to get a project delivery this summer.

When do we get a right-turn signal from Boerne Stage Road eastbound onto the I-10 frontage road in front of HEB? The fact that the right turn is only a yield is what's backing up traffic on Boerne Stage so far in the mornings.
- Timothy
Signal timing and phasing - including a "right-only" signal as you've suggested - is done through the city of San Antonio. We don't have plans for a right-only signal at all. What we do have plans for is a right-turn lane:
This is the final striping plan for the intersection of Boerne Stage Rd and the eastbound frontage road of I-10.
Before we can get there, though, we'll need to build the new lane. Also notice the final layout of two active lanes on the eastbound frontage road running east from the BSR intersection - and that's in addition to the merge lane from the west-to-east turnaround. Right now we don't have the two through lanes:
The orange area is the construction zone today.
Right now we've got one active lane and we've got a makeshift merge lane for the turnaround traffic. We've still got to reconstruct the frontage road, one  half at a time, and that work will take us through the summer to complete. Once we're all done, though, you'll have that turn lane and a smoother traffic flow.
As for the right-only signal ... well, that's an issue to discuss with folks from the city. Hope that helps!

Do we have a projection for when the frontage roads between Bandera and Braun (southbound and northbound Loop 1604) will be completed? Northbound is a disaster in the mornings right now and it causes people to cut through our neighborhood at freeway speeds at times - no joke. Braun is backed up solid clear back to Wildhorse during rush hour each morning. Keep up the great work!
- Rick
We're a month from finishing up. Hopefully the opening of the main lanes eased up the stress you've witnessed in your subdivision. And thanks for the kudos!

How many lanes on the access will Leslie Road have going southbound from Shaenfield to Culebra? Will the northbound section between Culebra and Shaenfield have more than two lanes on the access road?
- Sandra
This is a moment where a picture is worth a thousand words (which would describe how it varies between two and three lanes):
Click to enlarge ... arrows represent lanes. Two arrows is two lanes, three arrows is three lanes.
I am sure you have noticed there are several "personal exit ramps" (worn into the median between the main lanes of 1604 and frontage road, particularly around the 1604 and Bandera area where drivers decide to cross the median). Is anything being done to prevent this behavior as it is very dangerous and I have witnessed several near-collisions caused by this during rush hours. Would this be considered reckless driving and what would the fines be if a driver is caught doing this? Thanks for keeping us all well informed about TxDOT projects in the San Antonio Area.
- Zane
We've seen this. We're confident SAPD and the BCSO has seen it as well. As pointed out before, this is an illegal move per sections 545.063 and 545.064. The actual fine schedule isn't really our domain, but if folks are caught it'd be pretty significant. It's up to law enforcement to discover and cite these folks.
Just a few of the culprits forming their own on-ramps along Lp 1604 near Bandera Road over the weekend.
On our end, we're working on ways to stop this - but short of us putting concrete barriers or guardrail everywhere, stopping this sort of behavior is really up to your cohorts sharing your commute. That, or understand if we catch you doing it and can safely snap a pic, you may just end up on the blog here.

How can you open 1604 without a Shaenfield exit on the north bound lanes??!! All that did was create more congestion at the Culebra light thus not solving any congestion issues!!!
- Yvonne
We had the exit to Shaenfield wide open and working for every morning and evening commute since we opened the new northbound express lanes. This has been consistent. Not sure when you drove through, Yvonne, but the exit ramp has been active the whole time - it exists where it's always existed. That said, we've still got an overhead highway sign to place at this location - so it's understandable if you missed it the first few days. Those signs are being placed as quickly as we can!

Great job on the 1604 express lanes. I really enjoy reading the updates and whoever is writing them needs to stay in that job forever - always informative and always entertaining. As for the naysayers, people can always find something to complain about. If you handed out 100 dollar bills to everyone, some people would complain that theirs wasn't in perfect condition or find some other reason to be disgruntled. Getting the 1604 express lanes open was like handing out thousand dollar bills to everyone who had to sit through gobs of traffic on the frontage road over the past year while the expressway was being built. Forget the naysayers and keep up the good work!
- Bob
Thanks for the kind words, Bob - they're very appreciated by all involved at every level of the project!

Tuesday, May 17

Lp 1604: open, but not yet done

Last week we ceremoniously opened the northbound lanes of Loop 1604. The work to make that happen was pretty hectic, and we tipped the ol' cap to the folks with Williams Brothers in our blog post last week who worked nearly around-the-clock to get the road (mostly) ready for Thursday's opening.
At the time we readily fessed up to the need to finish quite a bit of work. Notably, we still had (and still have!) some major items left to do. That includes paving work, which shut down the northbound main lanes between Braun and Bandera roads Saturday morning and left the northbound entrance ramps from Braun shut down into this week.
These closures have led to a range of responses. Some chose to create their own entrance ramps, cutting through the median to get onto the main lanes. This little maneuver is frustratingly illegal and incredibly dangerous (not to mention really rude to literally everyone involved). Others called us, emailed us or tweeted us about the issue. Some have been pretty frustrated about the amount of their Saturday that was wrecked by the slog of traffic through the short stretch, citing travel times topping a half-hour to run the 1.4-mile length. It's a tough situation that's turned a story that just two days prior was garnering overwhelming thanks from folks in the area into a subject of frustration.
Look, we get it. Some of us got caught in the traffic as well. After all we haven't quite completed our own TxDOT-only underground network of roads to miss these kinds of closures. When you're stuck in traffic, we're stuck in traffic. What's done is done, but the need for an explanation here is real.

Saturday morning main lanes
The Saturday morning closure was remnant of what was getting done overnight. With the weekend upon us and decent weather through the morning, Williams Brothers tried to take advantage of their limited window of opportunity to finish asphalt work on the main lanes. Their efforts were successful, and they were able to open things up just before noon to keep that northbound traffic flowing on the main lanes.

The on-ramp from Braun
Like those northbound main lanes, WB was working to fit inside a narrow window of opportunity to lay asphalt. We need to lay that final surface to properly blend that ramp in with the main lanes (blending with the frontage road will come later). Well, rain came through before that could all get done and the lips remaining on the ramp made the ramp unsuitable to open up.
Well, our folks are still waiting for a clear window of opportunity to lay that asphalt to get the ramp open. Here's the rub: It's not just the ground that's wet at this point. The asphalt stockpiles WB has been drawing from to pave this stretch became saturated with water. New stockpiles needed to be made.
That said the ramp was our top priority for our crews - and WB delivered by opening the new ramp up by about 4:30 this afternoon.

So why open the road if it's not fully ready?
With all this work remaining, did we open this roadway up prematurely? To be frank, we don't think so. Though we don't have a scientific survey to back this notion up, we feel most folks would prefer to have use - even limited use - of a roadway facility that's nearly finished than to have no use of a facility that seems to be complete. Were we to keep these new main lanes closed for now, how many people currently reaching out to lodge complaints about the closures would be similarly lodging complaints about not having the road open?
We get that sort of response all the time, actually. If we've got a smooth-looking road down, guardrail seemingly in place, maybe some striping and a sign or two the road must be ready to open, right? But what of the transitional areas where the new road meets the old? What if the mow strip - that concrete strip under the guardrail that makes our mowing job easier - is finished? Or all the overhead highway signs, which require full closures to mount?
There are a lot of little things that often go unseen by folks simply driving through a work zone. What you're seeing at this point are the effects of needing to these smaller work items in a safe environment - closures, closures and more closures. And we're not done, either - we've got a slew of closures impacting the whole project, between Culebra and Bandera roads, posted last week. We stand behind our belief you'd rather have these main lanes opened for use most of the day and deal with occasional closures (that are admittedly annoying) than not have them at all and look at what seems like a near-finished product while you're sitting in traffic.

What to expect
Though we lined this out last week, a little repetition can't hurt. The key message here is we still have a lot of work to do on this project. Williams Brothers is eyeing a mid-June overall completion, meaning we're 4-6 weeks from being free from orange barrels along Lp 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads.
Wait, strike that. Some construction zone signs will actually continue until all the paperwork on the project is finished and we "purchase" the project from WB. That can take a little while as accountants, auditors and the legal folks look through all the contracts to make sure everyone did what they said they'd do.
But the closures ... the closures will be non-existent for us - but not until late next month. The contract for this project requires WB to keep a minimum of two lanes of Lp 1604 open in each direction at all times during the morning. That includes the new express lanes, which means (for the purposes of planning closures) Lp 1604 now has 4-5 lanes in each direction (2 express lanes plus 2 or 3 lanes on the frontage road).
What does this mean? Simply put, it means during the day WB can now squeeze the frontage roads to a single lane - if needed - during the day. It means we may still have a full closure of the main lanes (though that's really something we'll keep to nights and weekends).
At the risk of being repetitively redundant, here's a recap of what we've got left:
  • Overnight and weekend closures - even full closures of the expressway lanes - will be employed periodically over the next four weeks to lay asphalt and install remaining barrier.
  • There's a lot of work left on the frontage roads, and you'll likely see more daytime closures there to take care of concrete work on curbs and sidewalks.
  • The finished project will have a sweet paint job to keep the road from being to boring. That means painters will need occasional closures to do their thing.
  • A few overhead signs still need installed, some electrical work remains and we have that center cable median barrier to finish up. Almost all this will require overnight closures.
  • The frontage roads will need to get a final layer of asphalt and final paint. This means the folks using Braun Road will finally get that optional thru/left lane they've been asking for over the last year ... but it's still a few weeks from being done.
Again ... we're not yet done with the project. That comes in 4-6 weeks. For now, we're mostly done and you're enjoying the good stuff while we're not fine-tuning things!

Friday, May 13

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m. until Sunday, May 15 at 8 a.m. Eastbound I-10 between Martinez Creek and FM 1516. The right lane will close while crews repair the road.
I-10 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, May 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and I-35. The right lane will close while crews work on guardrails.
  • Monday-Friday, May 9-13. 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Westbound main lanes between Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Friday, May 13 at 10 p.m. until Sunday, May 15 at 10 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Friday, May 13 at 9 p.m. until Monday, May 16 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. All lanes will close while crews pave the road. Traffic will exit Splashtown Drive and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Friday, May 13 at 9 p.m. until Monday, May 16 at 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road between AT&T Center Parkway and Binz-Engleman. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Current thru May 2016. Exit ramps, both directions, to Eisenhauer Road. The ramps will close while crews build a new exit ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach Eisenhauer Road.
  • Current thru May 2016. Northbound entrance ramp from Eisenhauer Road. The ramp will close while crews build a new entrance ramp. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews work on overhead highway signs.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Frontage road, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Friday, May 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Frontage roads, both directions, between Walzem and Rittiman. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Friday, May 16-20. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Frontage roads, both directions, between Binz-Engleman and AT&T Center Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Monday-Tuesday, May 16-17. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes, upper level, between I-10 and I-37. The left lane will close while crews repave the road. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Brooklyn. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
I-410 – Southwest San Antonio
  • Friday-Saturday, May 13-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes between I-35 and Medina Base Road. The right lane will close while crews pave the road.
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-35 and Medina Base Road. The right lane will close while crews pave the road.
  • Monday, May 16. 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Main lanes, both directions, at Roosevelt. The right lane will close to adjust and repair barrier.
  • Monday-Tuesday, May 16-17. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Crossroads and West Military Drive. Alternating lanes will close while crews work on illumination poles.
  • Monday-Friday, May 16-20. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between I-35 and Medina Base Road. The right lane will close while crews work on guardrail.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Current until May 2016. Westbound frontage road between Hunt Lane and East Kriewald. The frontage road will close while crews reconstruct the Medio Creek Bridge.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, May 17-18. 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews pour concrete overhead. Traffic will exit Loop 1604, pass through the intersection and re-enter the highway.
Loop 1604 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current through Sunday, May 22. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Turnarounds, both directions, at Shaenfield. The turnarounds will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Saturday, May 14. 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Turnarounds, both directions, at Braun Road. The turnarounds will close while crews work on illumination.
  • Saturday-Sunday, May 14-15. 9 p.m. until noon. Southbound main lanes at Culebra Road. All lanes will close while crews lay asphalt. Traffic will exit Culebra, pass through the intersection and re-enter the highway.
  • Monday, May 16. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound frontage road between Culebra and Shaenfield roads. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Wednesday, May 16-18. 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road at Braun Road. The right turn lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Monday-Wednesday, May 16-18. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Shaenfield and Culebra roads. The right lane will close while crews work on guardrail.
  • Monday-Sunday, May 16-22. 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Culebra and Braun roads. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews lay asphalt.
  • Monday-Sunday, May 16-22. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Southbound frontage road between Bandera and Braun roads. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Tuesday, May 17. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound frontage road between Shaenfield and New Guilbeau roads. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Tuesday, May 17. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Southbound frontage road at Braun Road. The right turn lane will close while crews do concrete work.
  • Tuesday-Sunday, May 17-22. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at Hwy 151. All lanes will close as needed while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Wednesday, May 18. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound frontage road between New Guilbeau and Braun roads. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Thursday, May 19. 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Northbound frontage road between Braun and Bandera roads. The left lane will close while crews do road work.
Hwy 151 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, July 1 at 5 p.m. East-to-West turnaround at I-410. The turnaround will close while crews work on bridge support structures overhead.
  • Current until December 2016. Westbound exit ramp to Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Current until December 2016. Eastbound entrance ramp from Ingram and Potranco roads. The ramp will remain closed while crews install bridge support structures for the direct connector ramps being constructed.
  • Monday-Thursday, May 16-19. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound frontage road between Ingram Road and I-410. The left and center lanes will close while crews set overhead bridge support beams.
  • Sunday-Thursday, May 22-26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Ingram Road and I-410. All lanes will close while crews set overhead bridge support beams. Traffic will exit I-410, follow the frontage road and use the next available ramp to re-enter the highway.
Other roads – Kendall County
  • Sunday-Friday, May 15-20. 9 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between Thunder Valley Road and I-10. The road will be reduced to one lane, controlled by off-duty police, while crews repair the road.
Other roads – Comal County
  • Wednesday-Friday, May 18-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound Hwy 46 between Old Boerne Road to U.S. Hwy 281. Alternating lanes will close while crews put in conduit for a traffic signal.
Other roads – Southeast San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, May 15-19. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound W.W. White (Loop 13) between Fairlawn and I-10. The left lane will close while crews repair the road.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current through Sunday, May 22. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Braun Road, both directions, under Loop 1604. Alternating lanes will close while crews do concrete work.
All closures are pending weather.
There was an error in this gadget