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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!