Tuesday, June 28

Mail Bag: 151 direct connector, turn lanes at Boerne Stage Road, 281-46 progress

It's been a while since our last Mail Bag post, so we're sifting through the questions now. We hope to have another round of questions answered next week - keep telling us what you want to know!

In the March 16 post you stated, "the direct connector for southbound Lp 1604 to eastbound Hwy 151 is the most visible piece of the intersection improvements, and is on pace to be ready for use this fall." Does this intersection have an estimated completion date and any word on the southbound 1604 to eastbound 151 connector opening early still?
- Kevin
Great question, Kevin. Some of us have been asking the same thing as May rain storms really pushed back work across the district.
The overall completion for this intersection has a deadline of early 2017, but is still on pace to wrap up before the end of the year. As for the new direct connector, it's clearly not going to open by the end of June. By the end of summer, though? That's a distinct possibility.

When will you stripe the two left turn lanes onto Beorne Stage Rd? Right now it's quite likely someone in the right turn lane won't go far enough out not to clip the inside turn lane.
- Chris
This is a problem, quite frankly, even where we have the final striping in place. In many states, it's the law to turn lane-to-lane. That is, if you start in the far left lane to turn left, you had better land in the far left lane of the road you're turning onto.
For whatever reason, Texas law isn't written the same. (By the way, we're not advocating any law here - just pointing out what drivers from other states experience.)
The bottom line: drivers here are woefully unaccustomed to the safe practice of turning into the same lane from which you've turned. Frankly, drivers need to take the responsibility and catch up with best practices implemented by drivers across the nation. But that aside, those pavement markers are darned important.
We'll make sure those are in place and maintained properly moving forward for you!

Now that you've addressed the no right turn rationale on BSR, can you attempt to explain the dual turnaround lane configuration at RFR? The issue is that you have two lanes of the feeder set to turn left onto RFR in addition to the dedicated turnaround lane. The left most left turn lane, the left turn only, turns directly into another left turn only lane making it another turnaround. The middle lane on the feeder that is straight or left turn is directed into the middle lane which is straight through the light into Rialto Village. This center lane that is straight or left always backs up with the people going straight through, so a lot of us turning left will use the left lane, and just cross the other two lanes to turn right to head north on the feeder. The issue is that sometimes there is someone actually turning left from that center lane.
- Dan
A lot of this has to do with what you'll have, final product, when we're all done with the frontage road and new overpass work between Ralph Fair and Fair Oaks (actually, turning that optional lane into an optional left/straight lane was a modification of the original plan, based on public input). Remember when we're all done you'll not be turning left on Ralph Fair to turn right onto what will then be the eastbound (only) frontage road.
We're also trying to take into account the future development at that location. While you're right that the left-left option effectively creates a dual turnaround, folks coming from the actual turnaround shouldn't be trying to skip across a few lanes to reach the Whataburger right there. Those folks should use the left-left lanes you've mentioned.
So we really do have a method to the madness.
That said, we can take a look at the layout and have our engineers try to find a way to address the issues you've brought up.

When will the turn-around at 281/46 be completed in Comal county? Why has this project progressing at such a slow rate?
- Donald
For those not familiar with this project, this is the construction of new turnarounds for US 281 at Hwy 46 in Bulverde. The contractor out there is CRG, and should have finished up about a year ago. To be frank, since this project started an entire commercial development - including a Wal-Mart store and its surrounding infrastructure - has been constructed.
Unfortunately we don't have a good answer for why the project has progressed as slowly as it has. We've been working to encourage CRG as much as we can, including assessing liquidated damages for late completion of the project.
The good news: our current schedule shows we should be all done out there before the start of the school year.