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Tuesday, July 18

Mail Bag: I-10, ramp speed limits, traffic shifts, future plans

Are there any plans to move the northbound Watson Ln/Old Bastrop Rd exit further south? It is difficult to see vehicles exiting onto the frontage road when trying to turn from Watson Ln East onto the access road. It seems like moving it a half to 3/4 miles south allow more room for error. I don't if dodging traffic is the cause but the guard rail on the corner of Watson Ln East & the frontage road seems to get damaged fairly often. Maybe vehicles are just coming off the exit too fast and can't make the almost immediate right turn onto Watson Ln East.
- Bob

Right now, Bob, we don't have any such plans on our list of projects. That's not to say this can't be something that gets added. Stuff like this can become a priority by pushing it through the Alamo Area MPO - a group that kind of tells us where to spend our money in the region (allowing for local-level decisions rather than state-level decisions). We'll forward the comment to our internal planners and our area office in New Braunfels as well to see if we can at least keep the area on our radar.

Will you clarify how drivers determine the speed limit on flyovers, such as the Bandera Road connector to Loop 410 and the Loop 1604 connector to Highway 151? Do we follow the speed posted on the "Exit 45 mph" sign the entire distance of the flyover, or can we accelerate to highway speed once we get into the flyover? The Bandera Road connector has no signs along the way (except the "Exit 45 mph" at the entrance). I think the 151-1604 connector might actually have a speed limit sign at the entrance - but I'm still a little unclear if that applies to the entire distance. I try to stay around 50 mph on the Bandera connector, but people ride my bumper like crazy.
- Angela
Great question, Angela. There are two types of speed limits - regulatory speeds and advisory speeds. Those yellow signs with speed limits posted are advisory speeds - meaning they're a recommended speed to maintain safety on the ramp.
According to our Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (section 2c.14) these yellow advisory speeds are placed at locations to allow you to appropriately slow down as your exiting the highway. Once you're on the ramp, we won't place additional yellow advisory speed signs unless there's a change in the "horizontal alignment". That's engineer speak for "if the road curves".
Ultimately, those advisory speeds are there to help you remain safe as you drive. We would all do well to remember it's not about getting to our destinations fastest, but about getting to our destinations the safest.
Once nearing the end of these ramps drivers should begin safe merging practices by speeding up to the normal speed of the traffic with which they're merging and continue along their way.
We hope that helps!

What does right-in, right-out mean? If I'm coming down I-10E, how do I get into Fair Oaks Ranch? If I'm in FOR, how do I get to I-10E?
- Al

For everyone else: Al asked this a few weeks ago, prior to our first major closure of I-10 at Fair Oaks Parkway.
Right-in, right-out configurations happen when access to or from a side road is right-turn only. Here's a look at an easy engineer's drawing from our manuals:
I have a question. A few years ago I-10 was under construction to make the exit and bridge for the Dominion folks - because they are the rich ones, I guess. Now we are under construction again - for WHAT? There needs to be 3 lanes going in each direction from the Rim to Fair Oaks if not all the way to Boerne. The big trucks need to stay out of the left lane - they are dangerous! Why wasn't this done in the first place instead of tearing up the highway twice and spending extra money? And are we getting 3 lanes going east and west?
- Linda
Lots of issues to address here, Linda, but we'll try and stick to the basic question we think you're asking. We think you are really wanting to know when you're getting additional lanes to I-10 between Loop 1604 and Boerne.
The shortest answer is we'll be adding those much-needed extra lanes in segments. The first segment will be between La Cantera Parkway and Ralph Fair Road. Work on that project is set to begin early fall (August/September) this year and will take about three years to build. More information on the project may be found here.
As to the issue of why we didn't do it in the first place, when we re-did the overpass at Dominion Drive? Simply put: money and permission. We didn't have all our documents ready at the time to do an expansion like this, and we didn't have the money to do more. We're sorry we couldn't do more at the time and we're excited the Texas Clear Lanes initiative has enabled us to appropriately prioritize this project now.

Hwy 151 in San Antonio - I saw the notification sign this morning that the eastbound entrance ramp to 151 at Hunt Lane will be closed 18 July. Will this be a one day closure, or long term? Also, what time will the closure begin?
- ebargainer
This is a temporary closure and will last only a couple of days to allow crews to widen the ramp. Closure info is posted weekly here.

Will we have 151 run all the way to Talley Road in the near future? And are you doing any construction Talley Road soon?
- Janie
In theory, Janie, yes! Well, sort of. The extension of Alamo Ranch Parkway further east is up to the private developers continuing to build in that area. Development of Talley Road is up to Bexar County Public Works and is on their to-do list. They'll have a better idea as to the timeframe and other details of what's going on.
The real question, then, is whether Alamo Ranch Parkway will ever be converted to Hwy 151. Right now the answer is "no", but you never know what'll happen in 10 years.

There's a sign at Military Drive and 1604 in NW SA that warns of a "traffic switch" on 7-12-2017. No info seems to be available as to what a "traffic switch" entails or what time this will be happening.
- Kim
Kim, there's no excuse. We simply dropped the ball on getting word on this out. We have info out there now, which was published Saturday. Check out all the details here.