Monday, September 19

Mail Bag: Hydroplaning issues, future on I-10 and on Loop 1604

Twice, within the last week (earlier this month), I have been told of hydroplaning on 1604 near LaCantera Pkwy and I-10. Both times it was raining lightly or the road was wet. Both times, the drivers were going under 40 mph when they tapped the brake lightly and began fishtailing. I know one incident could have been worn tires. But the second involved pretty new tires. Is this part of the road extra slick when wet?
- Michelle
Thanks for the question, Michelle. Let's start by defining what hydroplaning is and what it's not. A slick road doesn't mean it's causing hydroplaning. For hydroplaning to happen, you'd need excessive standing water and you'd actually be accelerating, not braking.
So it's unlikely you're talking about hydroplaning (or aquaplaning) and more about simple slick roads - a common hazard when roads get wet. When it rains, water mixes with the oils from cars on the roadway and fills some of the tiny cracks in the asphalt, creating a slick situation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says this is at its worst about 5-10 minutes after it rains, or during a very light rain. It's important, then, for drivers to keep in mind during wet weather a huge need to slow down and increase following distance.

Hi! Will the project at I-10 at Old Fredericksburg Rd just be a highway overpass or will there also be a highway exit and entrance ramp at Old Fred?
- Anne
It'll have exits and entrances for Old Fred Rd ... the point here is to offer an additional access point to I-10 for folks out there, relieving pressure on the Ralph Fair Road and Fair Oaks Parkway intersections. Take a look at the schematic here for an idea of what it'll look like when we're done.

The daily commute between Bandera Rd and I-10 (vice versa in the evenings) is often at a complete standstill. Have any of the plans to expand this section of 1604 been funded yet?
- Zane
We know this is an issue. Frankly, added capacity won't help the real problem here - what we need to do is improve the interchange at Loop 1604 and I-10 as well as the westbound ramp to Bandera Road. These are some expensive fixes, though, and we don't have them on our plans for the next couple of years. We do have it on our list, to be sure, and once we get funding (that happens through the MPO) we'll make sure we get something done.

When will West Ave. close for construction? How long will it be closed? What are they doing to the road?
- Michael
West Avenue is a city road and this project is a city project. More information should be available on the city's web site.

This morning (Sept. 2) around 8:15 when I was driving on eastbound I-10 going into San Antonio from Boerne, Exit 543 (Boerne State Rd / Cascade Caverns Rd) had traffic backed up onto the exit ramp and almost onto the interstate. Are there any plans to move the exit ramp further away from the intersection so that this will not occur? I have also seen this same problem happen at the same exit when I have been heading West bound towards Boerne also. This could be an accident waiting to happen.
- Mark
The current project does not address ramp locations. That said, we do have plans to address this issue as we continue to develop I-10 in Kendall County to address the continued growth trends. We don't have a firm timeline on those future projects at the moment, but they will ultimately happen when we've identified funding.