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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?