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Monday, April 24

Why is SB I-35 down to two lanes in New Braunfels?

This morning crews had southbound I-35 limited to two lanes between Seguin Avenue and Schmidt Ave in New Braunfels - this is something that will persist until mid-May.
So ... what the heck?
This is the second of three milestones in a project to repair and, in some cases, rebuild portions of I-35 folks have complained of crumbling on. In particular we're addressing some issues as the asphalt meets the concrete of the overpass bridges. The work there is pretty intense and just couldn't be done properly by doing overnight operations only.
We are doing some overnight-only repairs as well ... which is why you'll see alternating lanes of northbound I-35 close each night on the northbound side this week and next.
The good news: we're only going to have this disruption in place for three weeks. If weather and equipment cooperate, that could be a little sooner - this is a milestone, after all, which means we've got a financial incentive for Angel Brothers to get those two lanes reopened as quickly as they can (and it'll cost them money if they go longer than the three weeks).
We'll have one more milestone like this associated with the work we're doing, but this one is by far the most noticeable for drivers. Stay patient with us and we'll get things back to normal - with a better ride quality! - pretty darned soon.

Traffic signal or no traffic signal: Emory Peak edition

The decision to place traffic signals anywhere on our state highway system does come with uniform guidance, as we've discussed before. Our post today doesn't involve placing a signal, though - this is a decision to remove a signal.


The fracas
We continue to have inquiries from the folks living in the Laurel Mountain subdivision trickle in about the fate of an existing traffic signal at the intersection of Emory Peak and Loop 1604.
The whole issue involves the traffic signal at Emory Peak and Loop 1604 - which will be removed when the expansion of Loop 1604 is complete and the new frontage roads are in play.
This is not imminent. We have a lot of work remaining before we reach this stage of the project and you won't likely see this change for another year or more.
We've made offers to the HOA leadership to come and explain the situation and curb the questions, but have so far not been invited to any of their meetings. We're kind of hoping this response - a version of standard responses we've been providing - helps answer the questions and the confusion. If you're in this neck of the woods, please post this to your neighborhood's Facebook page or NextDoor thread.


Some background
The traffic signal at Emory Peak was always considered a temporary fix at this intersection, placed when a private developer began to build the subdivision at this location.
When Loop 1604 was initially expanded from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway (as it is today), Emory Peak didn't exist. We did have plans for future overpass locations - those plans are now being fulfilled with overpasses at Marbach Road and at Dove Canyon/Falcon Wolf.
When the development came in at Emory Peak we were able to work out a plan with the developer to include a temporary crossing and traffic signal. The temporary nature of this intersection was made very clear to the developer at the time, and they knew the signal would be removed when Loop 1604 was expanded to an expressway.
We trusted the developer and real estate agents to disclose this information to the prospective buyers as they bought homes in this neighborhood, though the information would have been readily available to any potential buyer who simply asked us.


Overpass locations
When we lay out an expressway, such as Lp 1604, our engineers and planners take careful consideration of overpass or underpass (our engineers call them grade separations) locations. The rules our guys work under call for grade separations to be spaced between 1 mile and 2 miles, no more or no less. This allows us to provide entrance ramps and exit ramps between the two grade separations.
The distance between Marbach Road and Emory Peak is only about a half-mile, while the distance between Marbach and Dove Canyon is right at a mile.
Grade separation locations are also supposed to serve intersecting cross streets to help provide overall connectivity on each side of the expressway as part of a continuous roadway network.
(Whew ... a lot of engineerese in there, eh?)
The bottom line: the cross streets at grade separations need to help drivers get places beyond an immediate location.
Emory Peak is a roadway that dead ends into a subdivision and does not serve a regional east-west transportation need - mostly because it's so close proximity to Marbach and Dove Canyon. Well, that and the developer plotted the subdivision to create a dead-end street.
Meanwhile, Dove Canyon is slowly being extended all the way out to Arcadia Path at Potranco Road (we do think of what things will look like in the future!). When Dove Canyon finally intersects with Arcadia Path, as the master connectivity plan shows, the wisdom of this location will shine through.
The master transportation plan calls for this connection between Dove Canyon and American Lotus, eventually connecting Dove Canyon to Arcadia Path.

Your situation is actually better this way
If we built an overpass at Emory Peak we would not be able to provide a northbound exit to Emory Peak. All northbound traffic exiting Loop 1604 to Emory Peak would exit Marbach, sit through the traffic signal, travel the northbound frontage road then sit at the Emory Peak signal before finally making a left turn onto Emory Peak.
Sound exhausting? We thought so, too. By the way, you'd have the same situation with southbound traffic - exiting Dove Canyon, running through the intersection, etcetera.
For an example of what that could look like, think of southbound Loop 1604 headed to New Guilbeau (but keep in mind New Guilbeau does meet the criteria of improving overall connectivity Emory Peak fails to reach).
The project now going creates a great situation for Emory Peak. Let's explain:
  1. If you were traveling from Bandera Road, headed south on LP 1604, you will take the Marbach exit then move over to the right lane and make a right turn into Emory Peak. You won't even have to go through a traffic signal. Just exit, scoot over and turn. It's all safe and smooth.
  2. If you leave Emory Peak and want to get to U.S. Hwy 90, you will make a right turn from Emory Peak onto the southbound frontage road, move over to the left lane and get on the entrance ramp and on to the new direct connector to U.S. 90 we're building. Again, you won't need to go through traffic signals.
  3. If you are returning from U.S. 90 and heading back to Emory Peak you will exit Dove Canyon, take the turnaround at Dove Canyon and head down the southbound frontage road to make a right turn onto Emory Peak. You will not have to go through a traffic signal.
  4. If you leave Emory Peak and want to head north to Bandera Road you'll turn right onto the southbound frontage road, use the turnaround at Marbach, then enter the Lp 1604 main lanes from the northbound frontage road. You won't need to go through a traffic signal.
Because all the through traffic on Lp 1604 will be on the main lanes the traffic on the southbound frontage road at Emory Peak isn't going to be nearly what it is today. It will be easier to turn into and out of Emory Peak when we're all done.
By the way: did you notice a trend with the above bullet points? If not, we'll spell it out:
You won't need to wait at a signalized intersection.

Take a look
If you are having a tough time visualizing what we've discussed, take a look at the project layout and 3D rendering posted here.

Friday, April 21

An open letter regarding the Potranco Road medians

Full disclosure: The text below is pulled from an email conversation between our staff and an individual representing a conglomerate of business owners involved with a petition regarding the raised median being built on Potranco Road. It has been edited from its initial form to fit the blog format.


To those questioning the need and placement of the raised median along Potranco Road between Loop 1604 and Culebra:

Thank you, first of all, for your efforts to become engaged in the transportation planning process. We've heard your issues and do not take them lightly. It's unfortunate we couldn't discuss these issues before we reached the construction phase of this project - we could have had much more productive discussions had this outreach happened during our planning process or at our open house on this project.

How we reach out
We don’t send out mailers for our open house meetings because of the logistics involved. For starters, the cost of doing that would prove exorbitant - we couldn't limit mailers like that simply to those living or working along the corridor, and the sheer volume of mailers would be beyond our capacity (we do all that stuff in-house, after all). We know we'd miss people, and quite often we've found the owner of a property doesn't communicate these kinds of things to their tenants - which would leave us in a situation we have now with folks saying they never knew.
We try to be responsible stewards with the money we’re entrusted with, and seek the most effective and efficient means to communicate. We are required by law to post notices of public meetings in the "legal notices" section of the largest print news outlet in the area (in our case, the Express News). We also use traditional and social media channels to broadcast these meetings by sending out news releases to a very long media distribution list and tweeting about these meetings (not to brag or anything, but at more than 29,000 followers ours is the second-largest Twitter account in the department, behind only the statewide account).
We don't do Instagram or Facebook locally - this is a strategic communication decision we've made as an agency to help us control content and manage our messaging strategy. We do have a statewide Facebook account, though. It's got great stuff there. But we digress.
We also posted alerts of the open house with digital message boards strategically located along the routes. These message boards are placed ten days or more ahead of public meetings in the hope we're giving people ample opportunity to see the alert and take appropriate action. We also work with city council offices, who broadcast these meetings through their email blast lists where appropriate.
One thing we can do better about is utilizing this blog - which gets more than 20,000 reads every month - to broadcast these meetings.

The goal of the project
The ultimate reason for these medians is safety. Raised concrete medians are specifically designed to restrict left-turn movements that create what engineers call “conflict points” – a space on the roadway two opposing vehicles are competing for. These conflict points on high-trafficked collector routes like Potranco Road (and Culebra Road, for that matter – which got the same medians in 2015) often see a higher rate of catastrophic collisions. When these raised medians are installed, the collision rate drops dramatically.
For instance, the Potranco Road corridor saw a crash rate more than double the state-wide average because of these conflict points and some driver behaviors that favored risk and perceived convenience over safety and a few extra minutes. We’re seeking to improve that issue. You can see more about the pronounced safety benefits of these medians in our information page on the project located here.

But it's going to hurt our business/property value/lifestyle
There absolutely are some growing pains associated with any new roadway feature, and the growing pains with a raised median that restricts a particular movement are probably a little more pronounced. The improvement in safety is something we simply feel is worth the trade-off and is something we've thought long and hard about.
It’s much more important to us that, for example, a vehicle carrying children to a daycare facility re-route themselves to take much-safer (and, in many cases, faster and cheaper) right-turn approach and arrive or depart safely than it would be that same vehicle try rush ahead of a bloc of traffic and get into a catastrophic collision. We also don’t want people using the center left-turn lanes as acceleration lanes to merge with traffic; this behavior – particularly on developed and busy roads – tends to lead to other collision risks (such as head-on collisions or side-swipes). For more on this, see what the Texas Highwayman has to say in his primer on Texas road laws, specifically on the center turn lanes.
Here's the good news: this perception of inconvenience is short-lived and people generally get used to this new arrangement very quickly. We know this because we do this on similar roads across the state (and across the country, really) and others manage just fine.

Why does a neighboring driveway get a cut in the median and mine doesn't?
This is a terrific question. Before we delve into it, take a look at the planned layout of this new median (be sure to zoom in on the document so you get a good look). We'd post a jpg of it here, but it wouldn't give you the resolution needed to be effective.
We consider access to each location based on a master transportation and development plan. That is, when a property is platted for development it includes any access plans - including shared access easements - so a city can conduct proper urban planning to ensure order and efficiency. When this master plan isn't followed and the easement isn't utilized properly, this creates significant issues.
For example, a string of commercial properties west of Hunt Lane all have a shared access easement that would afford not only an additional driveway onto Hunt Lane itself, but a shared cut in the curb. That easement was never developed as a driveway, and some commercial tenants have used that easement space to perform alternate functions (one uses it to store a dumpster, another uses it as an outdoor recreational facility for kids).
Take a look:

Our plans are built with the master plans in mind - that's the sense of order that maintains a rhyme and reason to what we do. When the master plan isn't followed frustrations ensue and could potentially be perpetual. These issues can be solved by reverting back to the master plan and adhering to the strategy initially in place.

Our commitment
While we are committed to seeing this critical safety project through and maintain it's design is planned to operate the same as any other similar road in the state (or the country, for that matter), we do consider each case. In the end we're all human and can miss something - but with the number of people that touch each project, those misses are extremely few and far between.
We've reviewed all outstanding requests to review this project already and are confident we got things right with the current plan sheets. Heck, we're only six weeks from being finished with the work - we're ready to wrap it up and be done with it!
Projects like these, after all, reflect our forward-thinking as these corridors grow and produce increasing challenges to safety and operational efficiency in the future. We're just trying to get ahead of tomorrow's issues today.

-TxDOTSanAntonio

Thursday, April 20

UTSA Boulevard expansion about to wrap up

We began the expansion of UTSA Boulevard n 2015 and had a contracted completion date of mid-2017. We had hoped to finish up by the end of 2016 (an early completion) but got snagged up by some work at the bridge over Leon Creek.
Well, guess what? We're still going to finish early.
Curran Contracting let us know this week they plan to lay the final layer of asphalt on the project next week. Yes, that's during Fiesta ... but we are coordinating our schedule around any events near UTSA so we don't impact anything.
But here's the thing: we have roughly a week of work remaining, and we'll be at that magical point we like to call "substantially complete". If you're reading this right, you'll know that means we should have the last bit of striping and everything down by the end of April (weather permitting, of course).

What we did
Here's a run-down:
  • Expanded the road from two lanes to four and added a center left-turn lane at locations
  • Added a multi-use sidewalk
  • Included shoulders that will accommodate bike traffic
All that was between I-10 and Ximenes Ave, the only section of UTSA Boulevard that belongs to TxDOT. That work between Ximenes and Babcock is being done through the folks at San Antonio TCI. When they started, by the way, a friendly challenge was issued to see who would finish first. Well, on that note....

What to expect
The city's work is still moving along, so you'll still see construction activity along UTSA Boulevard into the summer. You can reach out to San Antonio TCI for more information on their section of the project.
For the rest of this month, though, expect to see some alternating closures as crews lay that final bit of asphalt. If you slow down a bit and pay close attention to what's happening around you, you'll make it through pretty easy.

Turning it over
Once the project is finished and accepted (it takes us a couple of months to dot the I's and cross the T's on a project) we are actually giving our section of UTSA Boulevard over to the city of San Antonio. It won't be called "Spur 53" anymore.
Why? Great question!
It's called a turnback and it's a funding mechanism that shows the state a city is willing to pony up some funds to meet their overall transportation needs. As a state agency we like to know a city or a county is willing to share the financial burden of a transportation system - particularly with the increasing demand of already constrained state transportation money.
In exchange for TxDOT ponying up the moolah for a major project in full, the city agrees to take ownership (including all maintenance!) of a strategically selected road. We look at surface streets that were at one time rural highways but have since become urban thoroughfares - roads that make sense to become a city road.
Anyway, UTSA Boulevard is one of those surface streets that make more sense to be a city road, so once we've upgraded it we're turning it over to the city for permanent maintenance and ownership. It's one of a handful of roads on the turnback list (Culebra Road between Loop 1604 and Tezel is another, as is Potranco Road between Loop 1604 and Military Drive) that's being used to leverage funds for the expansion of Loop 1604, I-10 and U.S. Highway 281.

Pretty cool, eh?


Wednesday, April 19

This week's construction-related closures ... and beyond

We know we missed Friday. And Monday. We're sorry - we were out-of-pocket and didn't get a chance to post things.
Bright side: we didn't have any major closures over Easter weekend, and weather washed away our plans to do anything earlier this week. Here's what we've got the rest of this week (you'll note all Bexar metro-area closures are limited significantly after tonight because of Fiesta...):
 
I-10 – Seguin
  • Current through Monday, May 29 at 4 p.m. Westbound frontage road between Business 123 and Grein Place. Alternating lanes will close while crews convert the frontage road to one-way only. This closure includes the intersection of Guadalupe Street as needed.
I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Current until Saturday, April 29. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road between FM 1516 and Foster Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews install drain structures.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 26-27. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road between Woodlake Parkway and Foster Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews install storm drains. Traffic will be controlled by a flagger.
  • Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. until Monday, May 1 at 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between Foster Road and Woodlake Parkway. All lanes will close while crews install storm drains. Traffic will use Foster Road or FM 1516 to reach its destination.
I-10 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound exit ramp to I-37. The ramp will close while crews repair guardrail. Traffic will take the next exit and turn around to reach I-37.
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes between FM 306 and the Comal-Hayes county line. Alternating lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 19-21. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Solms Road and Walnut Avenue. Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the road.
  • Sunday, April 23. 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. Southbound frontage road between FM 725 and Walnut Avenue. The left lane will close while crews set barrier. This closure includes the entrance ramp from FM 725. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Monday, April 23-24. 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between FM 725 and Schmidt Street. All lanes will close while crews restripe the road. Traffic will exit FM 725, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway after Walnut Avenue.
  • Sunday, April 23 at 11 p.m. until Monday, May 12 at 5 a.m. Southbound entrance ramp from FM 725. The ramp will close while crews do repair work. Traffic will use the next available ramp.
  • Monday, April 23 at 6 a.m. until Monday, May 12 at 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between FM 725 and Schmidt Street. The two right lanes will remain closed while crews repair the road. The main lanes of I-35 will be reduced to two lanes during this period.
I-37 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes between East Commerce Street and Brooklyn Avenue. The right lane will close while crews do bridge work.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Fair Avenue and I-10. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until April 30, 2017. Northbound exit to Culebra Road. The exit will close while crews widen the main lanes and frontage road. Traffic will exit Ingram Road, turn around and get to Culebra on the southbound frontage road.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Hwy 151 and Ingram Road. The left lane will close while crews work on median barriers.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road between U.S. Hwy 90 and Air Lift Drive. The two right lanes will close while crews install pipe.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road at U.S. Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews install crash cushions and barriers. Traffic will head east on U.S. 90 to West Military and turn around to return to the northbound I-410 frontage road. This closure includes the eastbound U.S. 90 ramp to I-410. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
  • Thursday, April 20. 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Southbound main lanes at U.S. Hwy 90. The two right lanes will close while crews drill foundations for overhead highway lights.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through May 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Hunt Lane and the Medio Creek bridge. The right lane will close while crews repair guardrail.
U.S. Hwy 281 – North-central San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Northbound main lanes between East Rhapsody Drive and I-410. The two left lanes will close while crews do road work.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Westbound exit ramp to Hunt Lane. The exit will close while crews work on retaining walls. Traffic will exit Ingram Road and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and Military Drive. The left lane will close while crews work on concrete median barrier.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 19-20. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between I-410 and Ingram Road. The left lane will close while crews pour concrete overhead.
Other roads – Seguin
  • Current until August 31. Austin Street between Martindale and Seidman. The road will be converted to one-way only, moving southbound, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination.
  • Saturday, April 22 at 7 a.m. until Monday, April 24 at 5 a.m. Northbound Austin Street between Lettau and Seidmann. All lanes will close while crews do utility work. Traffic will follow posted detours to reach its destination.
Other roads – Boerne
  • Sunday-Monday, April 23-24. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Scenic Loop Road, both directions, at I-10. All lanes will close while crews place bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will follow the posted detour route to reach its destination.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, April 17-21. 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Hunt Lane and West Military Drive. The left lane will close while crews install raised concrete medians.
All closures are pending weather.

Tuesday, April 11

Talking the work on I-10 east of town ... and some potholes, too.

The I-10 project on the east end of town is coming along and drivers will continue to see more construction activity in the coming months. We’ve received calls and emails about potholes in front of Denny’s at I-10 and Foster Road and have a few words on that. We also have a rundown of where the contractor is with the project and what’s to come.


Recap
In case you haven’t heard we’re converting the frontage roads to one-way between Foster and Graytown roads. Studies indicate a significant reduction in crashes when a two-way access road is converted to one-way frontage roads. We're also adding a new overpass at Woodlake Parkway, upgrading all the intersections, adding new signals and reconfiguring the entrance and exit ramps to interface with the frontage roads (and improve your access when using them). You can read more details here. The $63.8 million project will wrap up mid-2019. Texas Sterling Construction is the contractor and CEC is the project management and inspection team.


Milestones & Construction
Spring has sprung and south Texas weather has been in our favor so far, which is what we all want to hear. Good weather means ongoing construction. Texas Sterling is about a month into their first major milestone, which rebuilds the eastbound to westbound turnarounds at Foster Road. The construction of the new turnarounds will give drivers overall better access and ability to maneuver along the corridor.
The second milestone constructs the westbound main lanes of the Woodlake Parkway overpass, which is why the traffic lanes shift around the way they do for now. Drivers will see the bridge structure, beams, deck and rail begin going up over the next few months. The man-made hills approaching the Woodlake Parkway bridge will also include the construction of temporary and permanent retaining walls.


Potholes
First off we want to say we appreciate your patience on this issue. We’ve had several inquiries about the potholes located at Denny’s and Foster Road and we have been working to resolve the issue with SAWS and the contractor. It turns out the potholes were due to water leaks, which have since been resolved by SAWS. Pavement repair begins mid-April. Again, we cannot thank you enough for your patience as we work to resolve this.

Friday, April 7

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Friday, April 7 until Saturday, April 29. 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Westbound frontage road between FM 1516 and Foster Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews install drain structures.
  • Saturday, April 8. 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Foster Road and FM 1516. The left lane will close while crews repair crash cushions.
  • Sunday-Monday, April 9-10. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Roland Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The right lane will close while crews do road work.
  • Monday-Friday, April 10-14. 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Amanda Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The right lane will close while crews do road work. 
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Sunday, April 9. 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Southbound frontage road between Walnut and Schmidt avenues. The left lane will close while crews remove barrier.
  • Sunday-Monday, April 9-10. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Walnut and Schmidt avenues. The two right lanes will close while crews work on barrier.
  • Sunday-Monday, April 9-10. 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Schmidt Avenue and Rueckle Road. All lanes will close while crews restripe the road. Traffic will use exit 185, follow the frontage road and use the next available ramp.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 9-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Solms Road and Walnut Avenue. Alternating lanes will close while crews repair the roadway.  
I-35 – Schertz
  • Sunday-Wednesday, April 9-12. 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at Old Wiederstein Road. All lanes will close while bridge crews do maintenance work. Traffic will exit Wiederstein, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio 
  • Friday, April 7 at 9 p.m. until Saturday, April 8 at 5 p.m. Frontage roads, both directions, at New Braunfels Avenue. Alternating lanes will close while crews resurface the roadway. This closure includes the exit ramps to New Braunfels Avenue. Traffic will use the next available ramp and turn around to reach New Braunfels Avenue.
  • Friday, April 7 at 9 p.m. until Monday, April 10 at 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Rittiman Road and George Beach. All lanes will close while crews demolish the old connector to southbound I-410. Southbound traffic will exit George Beach and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp. Northbound traffic will exit I-410, turn around at Binz-Engleman and continue along northbound I-410 to return to northbound I-35. (See the detour here.) We will have all lanes reopened between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, April 8 to accommodate traffic headed to the AT&T Center for the scheduled Spurs game.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 11-13. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between Walzem and Eisenhauer roads. The two right lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-35 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Sunday-Monday, April 9-10. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Broadway and I-410. The two left lanes will close while crews clean the road.
I-37 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, April 9-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Fair Avenue and I-10. The right lane will close while crews install guardrail.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio 
  • Current until April 30, 2017. Northbound exit to Culebra Road. The exit will close while crews widen the main lanes and frontage road. Traffic will exit Ingram Road, turn around and get to Culebra on the southbound frontage road.
  • Friday, April 7 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, April 9 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between US Hwy 90 and Marbach Road. The two right lanes will close while crews reconstruct the road. This closure includes the entrance ramp from I-410. Traffic will continue along the frontage road through Marbach to enter northbound I-410.
  • Monday, April 10 at 1 a.m. until Tuesday, April 11 at 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road between Bertetti Drive and US Hwy 90. The right lane will close while crews work on a water line.
U.S. Hwy 90 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current through May 1. Eastbound exit ramp to I-35. The ramp has been reduced to a single lane while crews do bridge repair work.
U.S. Hwy 281 – North-central San Antonio
  • Sunday-Friday, April 9-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Rhapsody and I-410. The left two lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Sunday-Friday, April 9-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between I-35 and I-410. The right lane will closed while crews do road work. This closure includes ramps as needed.
Hwy 151 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until August 31. Westbound exit ramp to Hunt Lane. The exit will close while crews work on retaining walls. Traffic will exit Ingram Road and follow the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Sunday-Monday, April 9-10. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between I-410 and Ingram Road. The left lane will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Monday-Friday, April 10-14. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between I-410 and Military Drive. The left lane will close while crews work on the center median barrier.
  • Thursday-Friday, April 13-14. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between I-410 and Ingram Road. The left lane will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
Other roads – Seguin
  • Current until August 31. Austin Street between Martindale and Seidman. The road will be converted to one-way only, moving southbound, while crews do road work. Northbound traffic will use Guadalupe Street to reach its destination.
Other roads – Northeast San Antonio
  • Friday, April 7 at 9 p.m. until Saturday, April 8 at 5 p.m. New Braunfels Avenue, both directions, at I-35. All lanes will close while crews resurface the road. Traffic will use Walters Street to cross I-35.
Other roads – Southwest San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 12-13. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Old Pearsall Road, both directions, between Old Sky Harbor Drive and War Cloud Drive. Alternating lanes will close while crews test the roadway.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, April 10-14. 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Potranco Road, both directions, between Hunt Lane and West Military Drive. The left lane will close while crews install raised concrete medians.
  • Monday-Tuesday, April 10-11. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Ximenes Avenue between Ford Road and UTSA Boulevard. The road will close while crews do road work. Traffic to or from UTSA campus will use the Bauerle Road entrance.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, April 11-12. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Bauerle Road between Ford Road and UTSA Boulevard. The road will close while crews do road work. Traffic to or from UTSA campus will use the Ximenes Avenue entrance.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 11-13. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. Ingram Road, both directions, at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will use the Hwy 151 frontage road and next available turnarounds to reach its destination.
  • Wednesday-Thursday, April 12-13. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. UTSA Boulevard at Sienna Way. Alternating lanes will close while crews rebuild the intersection.
  • Wednesday-Friday, April 12-14. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Potranco Road, both directions, at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will use the Hwy 151 frontage road and next available turnarounds to reach its destination.
  • Thursday-Friday, April 13-14. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Valero Way at UTSA Boulevard. Alternating lanes will close while crews rebuild the intersection.
  • Monday-Tuesday, April 17-18. 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. UTSA Boulevard between Valero Way and Ximenes Avenue. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, April 5

Guided tour of this weekend's I-35 closure

By now you've heard of our planned full closure of I-35 between George Beach and Rittiman Road. Well, we hope you've heard by now.
We got a guided tour of the closure and the detour from Assistant Area Engineer Hieu Tong earlier today and broadcast it via Twitter. Here's the video of that tour.
This is the LAST major closure of I-35 for this project, which wraps up at the end of this year. We'll have overnight closures between George Beach and Randolph Boulevard, but nothing as major as this weekend's full closure.
If you didn't catch it, by the way, those ramps between Walzem and Eisenhauer we are rebuilding should open by early fall this year.

Tuesday, April 4

US 281 officially on the clock

So ... yesterday was Opening Day for Major League Baseball (which some on our staff insist should be a Federal holiday, but that's another discussion for a different blog altogether).
Opening Day is about a number of things in baseball, including a newfound feeling of hope - even for those who cheer on teams who fared incredibly poorly the prior year. Like the Boston Red Sox, who went from among worst in the league in 2012 to World Series champs in 2013).
Friday marked an Opening Day of sorts for us here at TxDOT; we're hoping to help US 281 go from worst traffic in the San Antonio region in 2015 to one of the region's better-flowing corridors come 2020. That starts with a heck of a plan and project.
We aren't looking for a flash in a pan (the Sox haven't been back to the World Series since 2013...); we want to build something lasting. That takes some work, and a little patience.
But we're burying the lede here, aren't we? Here's what happened:


Groundbreaking event
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Transportation Commissioner J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., hosted members of the state legislature and officials from Bexar County, city of San Antonio and VIA Metropolitan Transit to break ground on an expansion of US Hwy 281 that will help reduce congestion for motorists in the northern reaches of the city.
That event happened Friday morning (March 31) at 10:30, right by the new VIA transit hub near Stone Oak Parkway currently under construction that will connect to a portion of the US 281 expansion.
"For 100 years, the Texas Department of Transportation has built and maintained our roads and highways, providing a safe transportation system that has helped the Texas economy grow," said Governor Abbott. "It is because of the success we have had in bringing jobs and new business to Texas that unprecedented growth has caused unprecedented congestion, making the expansion of Highway 281 so important. The voters made clear this is their priority, and I am confident TxDOT will deliver results in the form of reduced congestion."
That growth Abbot discussed is unprecedented. We're adding nearly 1,500 people every day to the state of Texas, and that growth translates to about 150 new cars in San Antonio alone every day. Because of this growth and the need for more vehicles, Abbott created the Texas Clear Lanes initiative in 2015. This task force is led by Bugg, who is not just a Texas Transportation Commissioner ... he's a San Antonio resident as well.
"The approval of Proposition 7 by 83 percent of Texas voters in 2015 and the Texas Clear Lanes initiative have allowed both phases of the US 281 expansion to move forward without tolls," Bugg said. "After years of planning by local and state leaders, the new funding has made this critical project a reality."


The project - fast facts
For those who just want a quick run-down of what's happening, here are the highlights:
  • We're finishing the interchange of Loop 1604 and US 281, constructing the four remaining direct connectors.
  • We're adding two new express lanes in each direction between Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway with overpasses at Redland Road, Encino Rio, Evans Road and Stone Oak Parkway.
  • We're adding one non-tolled HOV lane in each direction between Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway; these lanes will follow the path of the free, non-tolled express lanes.
  • Work will actually begin in May, and the project should wrap up late 2020.
  • Webber Construction won the contract to build this highway with a bid of $192.3 million.
How it will impact your drive
So ... driving through construction is rarely pleasant. We get it. We do our best to make it hurt as little as possible. To do that here we're committed to continue the same level of service you're currently getting on US 281 today. That includes keeping the superstreet intact until we're ready to move traffic onto the overpasses.
The superstreet has reduced congestion levels along the US 281 corridor by more than 45 percent over the alternative of not doing anything. It's been an effective stopgap. Those who drive the corridor daily - all 100,000 of you - know well the superstreet has reached its limit. (That's kind of why we're doing this project....)
The work we need to do between Sonterra and Loop 1604 to build the new connectors north of Loop 1604 will create some significant traffic snarls and could close some of the routes a few of you take on a daily basis. That means a ramp closing for a few months, particularly with the southbound side as it goes between Sonterra and Loop 1604. When that happens we'll let you know so you can prepare and discover new routes in advance.
We'll have overnight closures from time to time, and the occasional weekend-long closure that will disrupt pretty much everything as we build the new direct connectors. Again, we'll make sure everyone has an idea of what's going on there well in advance.
For the most part, though, work will be done without major closures. You'll move through the corridor about the same way you do right now - with pretty close to the same travel times.


Final product
If a picture is worth a thousand words, we wonder how many a video would be worth. With that in mind, take a look at the visualization of what we'll have when we're all done. Pay attention to the ramp alignment (the super X configuration) allowing a smoother traffic flow, and the connector from the HOV lanes into the new VIA station at Stone Oak Parkway.




We're not done
You'll notice this work - this phase, really - ends just beyond Stone Oak Parkway. Well, we're not done with that. We're working to get started on the segment between Stone Oak Parkway and the Bexar-Comal county line as well. That's set to kick off 2019 and will take about three years to finish.
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