Thursday, May 12

Loop 1604 - NEW LANES OPEN!

Texas Transportation Commissioner J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., leads a ceremonial processional for the first official trip on the new northbound lanes of Loop 1604 earlier today.
If you're reading this prior to your evening commute, we're about to give you something even more to look forward to. You probably already know about it - we've been talking about it a lot, lately - but you can now breathe easy with the official word.

First off, today we ceremoniously opened up the new northbound main lanes of Loop 1604 between Culebra and Bandera roads. The southbound lanes opened last month, and these northbound lanes mark what to most folks looks like substantial completion of the project. We've got two lanes in each direction with overpasses at Shaenfield, New Guilbeau and Braun roads.

While the ceremony ran from 10 until 11 this morning, the lanes were opened for full use at 2 p.m. A huge tip-of-the-hat to the hard-working folks at Williams Brothers for working around-the-clock the last 36 hours in order to have those new lanes opened up for your evening commute despite the poor weather this week. Seriously - check them out busting out the last few items in this preview of the road taken just hours prior to the opening! Their work ethic even caught the attention of Texas Representative Justin Rodriguez:

"These hard-working men and women went above and beyond to cap off a long-running effort I've been anxiously engaged in since I took office," Rodriguez said. "This improvement is a step in easing the congestion in our area. While a lot more work needs to be done, residents should be able to spend a little more time with their families each day, rather than spending it sitting in stalled traffic."

That's right, if your evening commute involves northbound Loop 1604 between Culebra and Bandera roads, you can say good-by to the bogged-down frontage roads and enjoy the free sailing of the express lanes. (Emphasis on free, by the way....)

All that said, there are a few items folks should know:
  • The main lanes still have some items to be finished. Overnight and weekend closures - even full closures of the expressway lanes - will be employed periodically over the next four weeks to finish many items, including installation of highway signs and traffic 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 and other items. WB is required to maintain two open lanes at a minimum - that now includes the main lanes. Don't be surprised if, in the upcoming weeks, we have a frontage road down to one lane.
  • Painters will still need to take their turn through some areas. It may sound odd, but we actually do finish up the concrete work with a fresh paintjob. And no, it's not Aircraft Grey - or even normal concrete grey. This project uses a beige tone with some green accents. We like to make our roads pleasant to drive on and to look at!
  • We still have a final layer of asphalt to lay on the frontage roads. This will be about the last major thing anyone sees. This will be done mostly at night, but look for WB to take opportunities where they can as mid-June draws closer. That's the end-game, after all: to be finished and complete by mid-June.
With that, let's finish with a kudos to the guys who have made all this happen. None of them like their names publicized, so we'll go with initials. If they see it or you know them personally, you'll know who it is.
HL - the guy with WB that's kept resources flowing through the job and kept the schedule on pace.
MQ - the guy with WB that's kept workers working and used the resources HL brings on the job.
GW - the guy at WB that's responsible for just about every ounce of dirt and asphalt project-wide. The guy rarely sleeps he's on the job so much to make sure you've got something decent to drive on.
RN - our consultant engineer who's been processing the paperwork and inspecting designs before things get built, making sure we're constantly moving forward.
JG - the TxDOT guy responsible for ensuring the designs are sound, the work meets expectations and the contract is being complied with.

Maybe it's not Timmy, Tony, Kawhi, LaMarcus and Danny ... but these guys have been studs for San Antonio and deserve a little cred.