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Thursday, December 15

The new Hwy 151 overpass

We're nearing that moment everyone involved with any of our projects looks forward to: completion.

Background
Williams Brothers started the expansion of Loop 1604 between Bandera and Culebra roads back in March of 2014, and signed an option to the contract for the interchange of Hwy 151 that December. Work on the interchange started February of 2015. They opened the new Loop 1604 main lanes in May of this year and the new direct connector to eastbound Hwy 151 the end of July.
Every step of the way WB has been ahead of their set targets. The last remaining targets: open the new Hwy 151/Alamo Ranch Parkway overpass and finalize the job. They have until the first quarter of next year to do both.
If the project manager for WB has his way, that new overpass will be open and in use by the start of next week. This means we'll have some alternating lane closures at the intersection this weekend, particularly on Hwy 151 (both directions) between Wiseman and Lp 1604 and right there at the southbound Lp 1604 frontage road at ARP.

Gettin' it done
We won't hold a media event for this opening. Heck, right now we don't have a for-sure opening time or date and we recently told the folks in Alamo Ranch we didn't expect it to happen until after New Year. Inclement weather that week after Thanksgiving really slowed work down, but crews have been working like crazy to recover that time. If you drive the area routinely, you've likely noticed the flurry of work over the last couple of weeks.
At any rate, just like we did with the southbound 1604 connector to eastbound Hwy 151 we just want to have it ready for you and get it open. When it happens, we'll post it to Twitter and probably call it good.
Most of the big stuff is finished (though crews are still laying that last bit of asphalt this week). We have a lot of little things still to happen. When the opening takes place there will be barrier to move and lanes to stripe.
Those using that direct connector can expect a slight change to the way their lane meets up with Hwy 151 when the overpass is opened; drivers do need to be aware of changing scenarios over the next several days.

What it'll look like
This overpass will carry Hwy 151 traffic over Loop 1604 and land it directly into Alamo Ranch Parkway. Those taking this route will notice a bunch of large yellow signs as they approach Loop 1604 that read, "FREEWAY ENDS".
At the top of the overpass we've got a traffic signal. Yes, you read that right. Traffic coming from westbound Hwy 151 wanting to hit southbound Loop 1604 will have a protected left-turn signal atop the overpass and will have a ramp landing them with the southbound frontage road traffic as it prepares to merge onto the main lanes.


Of course, traffic along Alamo Ranch Parkway will have a series of traffic signals to go through. Take a look at our quick Periscope broadcast about the signals:


Backup plans
If for whatever reason Williams Brothers isn't able to get this overpass finished for next week, we will likely see its opening pushed to the start of January. We try to avoid closures as much as we can between December 15 and January 2 because of the holiday traffic volumes. That might prohibit us getting that overpass done by Christmas should work push very far into next week.

Finishing up
Even if the overpass is opened and finished before Christmas, expect to see WB crews working on finish items through February. A few orange barrels and some of the orange signs will be maintained until the contract is finished up (which can often be a few months after work has actually completed). Although work is about to finish, just know those orange signs will remain for a little while - not too long - while the paperwork end of the project is getting finished up.

Illumination on Loop 1604
Because it's related but doesn't warrant a separate post, we want to address a small string of those median light poles that aren't working right there around Braun Road. All the infrastructure is in place - the wiring, the light poles, light bulbs, everything - for those lights to work. CPS Energy has to connect the circuit to turn the lights on. The contractor's work has been done for a while at this point and we're still waiting on CPS. They are aware of the work item request, it just hasn't reached its turn in their work queue.

Putting a rumor to bed
Just because it keeps coming up when we talk with neighborhood associations in the area, we should put something out there on the topic. Right now TxDOT has not been asked, nor are we planning, to develop Hwy 151 along Alamo Ranch Parkway any further.
The idea has been discussed as savvy folks look at the map and realize as ARP continues to develop it could potentially link to the county's extension of Hwy 211, which will connect Potranco and Culebra roads.
The idea isn't totally crazy - particularly when keeping the future growth and development of the area in mind. It's simply not something that's on our radar at TxDOT. ARP isn't a state-maintained roadway and has been developed, to date, by private builders as the Alamo Ranch area has been built.
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