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Tuesday, May 23

Mail Bag: The Binz-Engleman exit ramp, Transguide cameras, Displaced Left Turns and more

Any word on when the Transguide cameras at Loop 1604 and Stone Oak/Huebner/NW Military will be brought back online? I was really glad when these cameras were installed, since the congestion gets pretty bad in that area, but they've been down for several months now.
P.S. Thanks for all the great updates recently! Y'all are on a roll.
- Chris

Glad you like what we're doing - we're excited about the fiber optic wire and the wireless cameras going into our equipment and what that upgrade means to the system.
These cameras are actually a priority item for our guys at Transguide. The ITS pole controlling those cameras was hit by lightning back in April, destroying the radio transmitter and several other equipment items. We also lost a link in our wireless communications chain in the process.
We've ordered the surge suppressor which (hopefully) will arrive in the next several days. We're working to get the cables all inspected for lightning damage as well - it's a process! We hope to have things up and running again shortly.

Regarding the Loop1604 N-Bandera Rd area, I saw in the TIP a displaced left turn at that intersection - expect funding soon? Braun Rd/Bandera to 1604 eligible for state funding or identified future project. I asked COSA TCI and they are not aware of any project.
- Edward

Great questions. A couple of answers.
We'll talk first of the DLT (Displaced Left Turn) we're doing at the intersection of Bandera Road and Loop 1604. That's a project we should put out for bids next month. The $6.5 million project is something you'll see us post more about here in the next few weeks as we look to push the message of what a DLT does and  how it will help congestion at this location. By the way, this isn't the only location we're eyeing for a DLT; other candidate intersections include Culebra Road at Lp 1604, where we have growing significant issues with congestion and limited options due to the tight spaces out there.
As for improvements along Bandera between Braun Road and Loop 1604 ... we're still working toward that. We want to do something that makes sense and addresses the major needs of the Bandera Road corridor (now a top-10 spot in the area in terms of congestion woes), and we cannot do that without working on the entire corridor between I-410 and Lp 1604. We're hoping, right now, to get something going by 2022 - a date that can easily be changed in the TIP as our stakeholders can find a proper solution and we identify proper funding.
Whatever we do along Bandera, it'll focus on multimodal solutions.

Recently Exit 30 on the southbound lanes of Loop 410 was closed after the opening of the new right-hand exit from southbound I-35. I work in the Macro Prologis business park and now all the businesses on the east side of Loop 410 have to make protracted detours to get to our work destinations.
There seems to be no urgency by the contractor to open the exit or to even provide a temporary exit ramp for this area. Any idea when that exit ramp will be reopened?
- Ed

We are working on it, Ed ... some of the work is weather-dependent and we've had some logistical challenges thrown our way.
The ramp was closed because the elevation of the new direct connector (southbound I-35 to southbound I-410) didn't match the elevation of the existing Binz-Engleman exit ramp. We knew that'd be the case when we went in there, and it's something our communications team missed when we put forward info on the weekend closures that put the new connector into service.
Bottom line: we should have that ramp (exit 30) back in action next month. In the interim, the best route to take would be southbound I-35 exit to George Beach, turn left at George Beach and again onto the northbound frontage road. Follow the frontage road around the hairpin turn and that should get you where you need to go. Take a look at the route here.

Just wanted to say thanks for getting those signs up at the Shin Oak Park and Ride! The commercial vehicles are gone. I appreciate not having to look at a "truck stop" anymore when I drive by!
- Steven

Happy to help, Steven! Thanks for reaching out on the topic and letting us know of the issue.

I wrote in previously about the barrier at the 1604 Bandera Rd northbound exit and how it has been repeatedly destroyed since it was first installed. The answer I got was that people are distracted and need to pay better attention. I completely agree. Another person later wrote in that these distracted people should have to pay to fix barriers/guardrails. Again, I completely agree and I’m glad TxDOT has a process in place to seek reimbursement for such repairs.
What I’m asking is if there is someone at TxDOT who looks at high recurrence accident locations to see what might be done to help save life and property. I’m certainly no expert, but the way the exit lane is striped at the northbound Bandera exit off 1604 seems to point cars directly at the barrier. People hit it because they are not paying close enough attention and they should pay to get it fixed - got it - but if the discussion stops there, an opportunity is missed. All I’m asking for is some TxDOT engineer to take a really good look at the off-ramp trajectory and consider if re-striping it might help drivers (distracted or otherwise) better avoid the barrier. For the possibility of fewer accidents, fewer TxDOT repairs, and less work chasing reimbursements, it’s worth a look.
- Bob

Well, you'll get no argument out of us, Bob.
When areas are riddled with crashes we do evaluate the road and see what, if anything, can be done to improve the situation. This is generally prompted by abnormal volumes of work orders to clean up or repair things like crash attenuators, which means we've got an idea as to the frequency of crashes at any given location.
We won't wait for the work orders to pile up here, though, Bob. Our communications team has a note to our traffic operations folks to look at this location again. They'll address the issue as appropriate and keep an eye out there on it.