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Thursday, November 3

Straight talk on the I-10 Leon Springs project

Work to convert the frontage roads on I-10 between Dominion Drive and Boerne Stage Road, including some operational improvements between Boerne Stage Road and Ralph Fair Road, is now officially more than a month overdue.
Before we get into the details of what that means, let's talk about upcoming work schedules and what the area will look like - particularly around the shopping hub near Boerne Stage Road - through the Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus holidays.

What's happening
This week crews had Cielo Vista closed in halves to run drain structures across the road and reconstruct its connection with the eastbound frontage road of I-10. TSC's bridge crew is working to wrap up the reconstruction of the two-way bridge between Boerne Stage Road and Aue Road, with an aim to have it reopened in the next two weeks.
The road crew is working to blend the eastbound frontage road bridge over Leon Creek between the new Wal-Mart and Boerne Stage Road so it can be finished this month.
The dirt crew is working on the retaining walls and road path for the new exit and entrance ramps on the eastbound side of the highway between Boerne Stage and Dominion.
The concrete crew and electricians are wrapping up work at the intersection of the eastbound frontage road and Boerne Stage Road.

Where we'll be
The biggest takeaway for folks in the Leon Springs area is knowing that, before November 21, Texas Sterling Construction will have completed all major work between Ralph Fair Road and Boerne Stage Road. That means on both sides of the highway. One member of the project leadership team said that, weather notwithstanding, there is "no way" they won't have things finished to this point before November 21.
That means that bridge between Aue and Boerne Stage will be back open, helping traffic to and from Leon Springs Elementary School.
That means the eastbound frontage road will be at full capacity between Boerne Stage Road and Cielo Vista (though still down to one lane after Cielo Vista) and all the work across driveways up to Cielo Vista will be finished.
That means traffic between Ralph Fair and Boerne Stage - on both sided of I-10 - will be in its final configuration.
Note: We'll still need to lay our final surface of asphalt, final road striping and sodding ... all that will happen when everything else project-wide has finished.

Running behind
Those who've followed this project since its start in 2015 know we've been hit hard by rains and suffered a delay at the hands of utility conflicts. The potential of rain is built into our contracts, and are already accounted for. We might have a case to credit time back to the contract, but that's not typical for a project like this.
The utility delays are not reflected in the current estimate report on this project. When the project is finished we'll sit down with the contractor to determine exactly how much of a time impact the utility delays had on the project (based on critical path project management) and negotiate from there.
Until then, we are assessing liquidated damages of nearly $1300 per work day (five days per week, basically). Right now those charges could spell quickly a six-figure chunk taken out of the profit margin on the contract.

Looking ahead
Once work up to Cielo Vista is finished dirt crews will focus on and finish the footprint for the new eastbound entrance and exit ramps between Boerne Stage Road and Dominion Drive. You'll see concrete crews finish curb and sidewalk on both sides of the highway. Right now we're hoping to finish work by early 2017, and we'll then get to work on the final surface of asphalt. Remember paving is highly weather-sensitive and, though we'll be working to do it overnight so we don't impact daily traffic too much, if temperatures overnight are too cold we may need to look at other alternatives.