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Monday, March 27

The I-10 corridor: all the latest

We've had more than a few questions about the I-10 corridor (we have four active projects between Dominion Drive and Scenic Loop Road right now). We had started doing a video post for this corridor, but the footage is now outdated so we've scrapped it. Simply put, we've got a lot of info to get out to y'all. Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen ... we're gonna dive in and this one may take a bit. We'll try to be brief, but thorough.

Nicole asked us about the timing for the signal at Ralph Fair Road, the future ramp configuration between Fair Oaks Parkway and Ralph Fair Road and about the new intersection at Old Fred Road we're working on. (Sorry to paraphrase your questions rather than get them out verbatim through a Mail Bag post, Nicole.)
The signal issue is a recurrent issue and has more to do with capacity of the roadway than the actual timing of the signal. (Sure, easy to say from behind a keyboard ... we're confident the issue feels like a timing issue in the morning rush....) We hate to say "trust us", but ... well, trust us. The issue is capacity and, until we get that intersection set up to its final configuration with one-way traffic all around, you won't see anything truly helpful with timing adjustments. Remember: in order to get an extra 5-10 seconds of green time for one traffic source we have to add 5-10 seconds of red time to the other traffic sources.
That leads us to the rest of Nicole's question: what will things look like when we're done with the frontage roads between Ralph Fair and Old Fred. If you'd like a picture, it's here. Basically, though, we're going to have entrance and exit ramps in both directions between Ralph Fair and Old Fred. The folks coming from Old Fred that now have to sit through the signal at Ralph Fair will have an on-ramp allowing them to bypass the signal each morning.
And yes, we will have signals at the intersection of I-10 and Old Fred Road/Buckskin Drive.
Another issue with that intersection of Ralph Fair and I-10 pointed out by Andrew highlights the poor habit of folks using the turnaround and stopping at the end of the west-to-east turnaround on the bridge. He says many folks are trying (even during heavy morning hours) to dive across several frontage road lanes to reach their favorite breakfast spots on their way in to work. The problem here is access to these restaurants from the turnaround is not intended.
Let's put that another way: if you're diving from the turnaround to Whataburger, you're doing it wrong. Don't get us wrong; we love Whataburger (and other eateries). It's just that the intent of the turnaround is to get traffic either to the eastbound entrance ramp from Ralph Fair Road or to get traffic to Boerne Stage Road. When you stop there and wait so you can get your morning taquitos, you're holding up hundreds of other folks who are trying to get to work and you're becoming part of the congestion problem.
You're literally stopped in the middle of the road. Just like this guy.
If you need those taquitos, use the signalized intersection. We hope we don't need to install medians or curbs or those delineator paddles to help folks understand this.

Leon Springs schedule
First of all, a huge kudos to the folks with Texas Sterling Construction. When we posted on the traffic shifts along the eastbound frontage road of I-10 between Boerne Stage Road and Dominion Drive we said the single-lane situation would remain for the whole of March. We also promised to get off-duty police to control traffic flow during mornings.
Well, we had the off-duty officer out there, and it seemed to help quite a bit. As for the duration of that single lane?
Well, again, credit Texas Sterling Construction. They pushed to adjust the way they went about their business working on the new eastbound exit to Dominion Drive to allow that second lane of the frontage road to open up and get traffic somewhat near normal. They're still working on that new ramp, which should be ready to open by the end of the month.
That means our overall project should be just about wrapped up by the end of that first week of April. We'll still have some minor items remaining, but traffic will be in its final configuration well before Easter hits.

Old Fred Road schedule
The next major item to come about on I-10 is having traffic move onto the new overpass at Old Fredericksburg Road. That change will come a lot sooner than many folks might think, so spread the word on this.
With bridge support beams set and deck panels almost all in place, crews are just about ready to pour concrete. That's actually scheduled to happen in April (and will require minor overnight closures we'll let you know about when the time comes).
Sundt is pushing slightly ahead of schedule on this project (our guys on the field hate when we say that publicly...) and we're hoping to have traffic up on the new overpass this summer. Once the main lanes are up on the overpass we'll get to work on the new intersection there of I-10 and Fred Road. That intersection, again, will indeed include signals.
Once that intersection is ready for use - and only after - we'll convert the frontage road to one-way between Ralph Fair and Old Fred. We're expecting that to happen the first part of 2018. Sundt will then turn their attention to the frontage roads and ramps between Old Fred and Fair Oaks Parkway.
Overall completion is still sitting mid-2018.

Fair Oaks Parkway schedule
So then there's the bridge reconstruction at Fair Oaks Parkway itself. This is a separate project from the Sundt job, being done by RELMCo Inc.
Right now they're getting the support structures for what will be the west-to-east turnaround built. We're hoping soon to be able to hang beams and pour concrete (which will require full closures of I-10, which we'll announce when those become imminent) in the next month or so.
Once the new turnaround bridge is finished (it's actually a separate structure from the overpass bridge itself) we'll move traffic over to that turnaround. We'll still have one lane in each direction so, though the movement will be a bit awkward, you'll still have the same level of service you've got right now.
With traffic over on the turnaround bridge we'll demo the old bridge and build the new one - a process that will take about nine months. Overall completion is still on target for mid-2018.

Scenic Loop Road schedule
Before we delve into anything else, let's be clear on one thing: we are not moving the exit and entrance ramps for Scenic Loop Road as part of this project. Please let your friends and neighbors know this, as it persists as a rumor we get calls on weekly.
Again, we are not moving the ramps to or from Scenic Loop Road as part of the current project.
We absolutely will move these ramps with the conversion of those frontage roads to one-way, but that work is on our radar but currently unfunded. We're hoping to get after it as early as late 2018, but we could end up pushing that back a bit if funding doesn't work out.
Austin Bridge recently moved traffic over off the old eastbound lanes to start work on that new bridge structure, and things are simply moving right along. Once we have that new structure built we'll move traffic, again, then go to work replacing the old westbound lanes. We're hoping to have this project finished up and done by early 2018 - but Austin Bridge is trying to sneak this one in a little earlier than that. Let's all hope the weather cooperates....

The bottom line
The middle of next year will treat motorists pretty well along this corridor ... at least, for a short while. As a reminder, we do have an expansion of the I-10 main lanes between Ralph Fair Road and La Cantera Parkway coming up, and that's set to start late this year. That project will likely take about three years to build.