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Monday, August 29

Mail Bag: What's happening on I-10 between Foster and Graytown roads?

When are the project for improvements to I-10 between Foster Road and Graytown Road, including the Woodlake Pkwy overpass scheduled to begin? Will the frontage roads be rebuilt before they are converted to one way? How soon will traffic lights be added to the 10/1516 intersection?
- Marshall

Those who don't know what Marshall is talking about can check out our project information page here.
The $65.3 million project was awarded to Texas Sterling Construction earlier this summer, and we've been working out some details in some materials used. See, our pavement engineer has marked this job to conduct a pavement materials experiment that could help us save tens of millions statewide and improve the life of our roadway. We had to make sure the supply of materials needed - geogrid - was available for the project.
We'd like to get started on this project before Halloween (we're still getting our contracts drafted, and a three-month gap between letting and project start is fairly standard). The frontage roads won't be converted to one-way until the third phase of work, which comes once the new overpass at Woodlake Parkway is finished up. Don't expect to see that happen until 2018.
As for the traffic signals at the intersection of I-10 and FM 1516 ... those will be completed near the end of the project, after we've got the frontage roads and intersections reconstructed. (It's called for in Phase V Step 4B, if you're really interested in the detailed timing.)

Concerning the work activity at Hwy 46 and Hwy 281: Before the construction, two lanes were allowed to turn left from westbound Hwy 46 to southbound Hwy 281 (the middle lane could optionally go straight or turn left). Why has this configuration changed to only one left turn lane?
- Tom

Thanks for your note, Tom. You weren't the only one to reach out and ask about this issue. Unfortunately incorrect signs were installed and, for a while, it seemed as though the dual-left option was being removed.
This was corrected 18 August. The current configuration should be: Left lane is left only, middle lane is optional through or left, right lane is through only.

Is there any QA/QC project acceptance done by TxDOT? The firm working the Boerne Stage Rd-Leon Springs project has a lot of rough patches. The only ramp between Ralph Fair and BSR has a big tilt halfway along the length. The new on ramp at Leon Springs going west is the same.
- Matt

Having driven this length ourselves a few times, we're guessing you're talking about the rougher base surface that's now out there when compared to completed ramps and roadway, where things are a bit smoother. This is a common observation on our projects.
See, when we put our contracts together, we require a warranty on the asphalt that's put in. If the asphalt deteriorates under traffic, the contractor is required to replace it at their own cost. Because of this, contractors typically wait until the very end of the project to lay down that final surface of asphalt that's more expensive and tends to wear out a little faster (has to do with the size of the aggregate in the mix).
So what you're driving on is a temporary surface ... well, sort of. It's actually the base layer of asphalt on which we'll lay down the final surface later. That final surface is 1-2 inches thick while the base is 12-18 inches thick.
As for the westbound exit to Ralph Fair ... that ramp is a temporary ramp and will be replaced with a permanent ramp anyway.
So ... yes, we do have quality assurance and project acceptance on every TxDOT project. However, we're not ready to accept the project and are waiting for the project to be complete - which, in this instance, is around the end of the year.

Old Fredericksburg road at Ralph Fair Road is now a very dangerous intersection. Attempting to cross four lanes of traffic here is extremely unsafe at many busy times of the day. While visibility is close to zero many people still attempt the crossing. Even crossing two lanes from Ralph Fair onto Old Fred behind the Valero is difficult. Are any changes planned for this intersection?
- Deb

Part of your issue here is traffic volume, to be perfectly honest. We've seen a five-year low of 7,800 vehicles per day on Ralph Fair, capped by more than 11,000 cars per day in our five-year high. While we do see some flux from year to year, the trend is upward - and the range there is pretty significant.
So, what's the plan for the future? That's a complicated question, though it may not seem like it should be.
The state's responsibility here is Ralph Fair Road, and our plans include expanding that road (which shouldn't really help your specific observation much) in the future. We're working on plans to expand Ralph Fair to four lanes all the way up to Hwy 46 by time we're all done.
We could add a traffic signal at the location, but that would significantly add to the traffic delays folks are experiencing already at the intersection of I-10 and Ralph Fair. Frankly, Old Fred isn't much of a problem except for about four hours each day and a signal at that location would do more harm, overall, than good.
The real solution is providing another way for traffic on Old Fred to reach I-10. That's happening with our I-10 Fair Oaks project, which adds that overpass at Old Fred and I-10. When the intersection there is finished - by early 2018 - you'll see a bunch of that traffic trying to cross Ralph Fair or get through that intersection there dissipate and use the new route.

Is there any info regarding extending Galm Road thru Fm 471 and beyond?
- Gary
Will Alamo Ranch Parkway eventually meet up with the new part of 211 (yet to be built)?
- Carolyn

We're bunching your questions together, Gary and Carolyn, because the answer isn't something we have within TxDOT. Galm Road and Alamo Ranch Parkway are both county roads, not state roads. Their development is all handled by Bexar County Public Works (sort of).
In the case of ARP, that's being done by private developers as the Alamo Ranch area continues to expand.
That said, Galm Road isn't slated to extend any further than it is now, but Talley Road and Old 471 are set for some upgrades. That info is here. Carolyn, you'll also find at that link information on the extension of Hwy 211 so private developers can connect ARP with Hwy 211 at some point in the future.
I saw they said West Avenue would be closed by Wurzbach Parkway beginning September 12 through March of 2017. Any idea how far along that closure is?
Is it just from Wurzbach to Nakoma or is it farther than that?
- Robert
Great question, Robert. Unfortunately, we're not the agency running that project. Give the city a call - their TCI group is heading up that work.