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Monday, May 2

Mail Bag:

The person who commented on the on-ramp to westbound I-10 at Ralph Fair Rd was completely correct. You can't see the right lane clearly until you are in the acceleration lane which is way too short. And I don't agree about your suggestion on not stopping. If there is an 18 wheeler going 60 and you can't accelerate in front of it, you stop.
- Jean
For those new to the blog or unfamiliar with this issue, Jean is referring to Vicky's question back in the April 11 Mail Bag post.
A few minor points of clarification: it wasn't us making the recommendation on how to navigate the ramp; we referenced the recommendations coming from safe driving experts on the issue. That said, we've had our folks out there in a variety of vehicle types - the visibility of the roadway is quite clear from the frontage road.
The key here is to look ahead while driving. Those who aren't seeing the traffic on the I-10 main lanes are likely falling into the trap most of us do while driving; we're looking only at the pavement ahead of us. Nearly every safe or defensive driving course out there - including a standard drivers' education class and the Smith System program taught to drivers at TxDOT - teaches to aim high in steering and to get the big picture. In other words, don't simply focus on the road immediately ahead.
All this said, we stand by our explanation from before.

Why is the hillside by the southbound I-10 frontage road in Leon Springs being cut back? The project schematic does not show any additional main lines or ramps in that area. Is it for future projects?
- Blake
You're right - we're not adding additional lanes. But you'll notice on the schematic a realignment of entrance and exit ramps along the project. What you're seeing there is the cut for the new eastbound exit to Dominion Drive.

Are there plans to expand the road out Blanco Road to Old Blanco Road out in Bexar County near Camp Bullis?
- Rose
That's a great question - one we don't have a definitive answer for. The portion of Blanco Road north of San Antonio city limits is not a TxDOT facility, but is owned and maintained by Bexar County Public Works. They may have more to say on the issue than we do.

I was just wondering on the Hwy 90 west project if there will be additional lanes? And the bridge that is being built - is that going to be a turn around?
- Christina
In a word (or two): sort of. You've got two questions here. The easy one is about the turnaround. That answer is YES. As for the additional lanes ... that's the sort of.
We're adding "auxiliary lanes" in each direction to help facilitate traffic entering and exiting the highway in that area. For a closer look, check out our schematic used during our open house meetings prior to the project starting.

Flooding happens every time we have heavy rains. I travel I-35 and I-410 every day and see the trash collecting. When it floods we see six vehicles and 15 workers trying to fix something that they were payed to keep clear. People will be people that is why we pay city crews to clean it up. Someone is not doing there (sic) job period.
- Paul
Paul, we're glad you've reached out - and we hope you'll join us in our efforts to remind people of our Don't Mess with Texas campaign.
The highway belongs to the public and, as such, the care of the highway is the responsibility of us all - not simply the folks contracted to clean it up. At least, not any more than it's the sole job of our moms to clean our rooms or do our laundry. Heck, we even have a whole national holiday to recognize our moms and remind us all it's us, not our mom, who's ultimately responsible for picking up those pesky dirty socks.
We have our crews patrol the highways regularly to clean trash, but that's an extremely hazardous job to do. We can't do it daily, which is - quite frankly - what would be required to keep up with the trash getting tossed out by those people who are simply being people.
Those same crews are contracted to mow the medians at various intervals. They repair guardrails destroyed by drunk, inattentive or speeding drivers. They clean up graffiti by those who deface the signs or columns your tax dollars built. They fill in potholes we stuggle to keep up with.
In our efforts to save money in order to focus our funds on improving your commute through capital projects, we've outsourced some of our maintenance work. That's the case here - and our maintenance contractors are out on these roadways routinely.
So the issue, Paul, is not with our crews who aren't able to keep up with the trash folks are tossing out the window. It's with folks who dismiss the pathetic practice of littering as something we just need to deal with.
We take a different approach, believing we can use education to combat the problem and bring it to an actual halt. We've been working at it for 30 years now and seen some great results. There's more to do, though. Join us!

With 1604 opening past Bandera Rd, why the drop in speed limit to 60 mph? This section of road seems to be better than the NE part of 1604 around I-35 where the limit is at least 65 mph with less limited access than this section of road. Could I be so bold as to even throw out 70 mph for consideration?
- Ryan
Ryan, your sentiment is familiar - it sounds a lot like the request to increase the speed limit on Wurzbach when it opened. Well, those familiar with that situation know the speed limits were, indeed, changed.
Our approach here will be much more tempered. We have two more expansion projects coming to similarly add overpasses along Loop 1604 all the way through Hwy 90. That means this stretch between Bandera and Culebra is the stretch leading into a construction zone (that will be active next year), and the decreased speed limit will help slow folks down as they head into the new construction zones.
After that work is all done (2019), well ... that's a question for elected officials, speed studies and the Texas Transportation Commission.

How long for a large pothole to be repaired at state Hwy. 16 and main street in Kerrville?
- William
The pothole has been reported and should be addressed quickly. Thanks for letting us know!

Would you please give me information on the Highland Hills subdivision, Pocahontas Dr., and other roads around the zip code 78264 having construction plans to pave roads.
- Lee
Those roads - all unpaved, private or county roads - are not under TxDOT ownership or maintenance. The best agency to approach with this project would be Bexar County Public Works.
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