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Tuesday, August 8

FM 1103 bridge starts this week

Edit: due to weather impacts and some scheduling conflicts the start date has been pushed further than expected. Blog below has been updated with the new start date.

A $7.2 million project expanding the FM 1103 bridge over I-35 in Schertz starts the night of September 5 and will wrap up by spring 2019.
Local company Anderson Columbia won the contract to make the bridge five lanes wide (plus turnarounds) and will be churning through a six-day workweek to finish construction as fast as possible.

What's being done
The existing bridge has two lanes; the new
bridge will have five plus turnarounds.
The incredible growth in Schertz and Cibolo has overwhelmed the old two-lane bridge (and, quite honestly, FM 1103 itself ... but there's a whole other post dedicated to that issue).
The new bridge will have five lanes with priority given to getting traffic off FM 1103 headed toward San Antonio. Two eastbound lanes will include one through lane and one optional lane. Three westbound lanes will include a left-only lane, an optional lane and a through lane getting traffic onto Hubertus Road (which is also growing...). Turnarounds will be built on each side of the new bridge.
All this work should position the intersection to appropriately meet the demands of the growing suburban communities depending on this location so heavily.
Oh, yeah, and we'll also upgrade the traffic signals and pedestrian facilities while we're out there.

Getting from here to there
Our biggest priority is minimizing the impact on daily traffic through the duration of construction. That's what our aim is with every project, in fact.
The first thing the good folks of Anderson Columbia will be working on is the new westbound portion of the bridge, including the south-to-north turnaround. That first half of the bridge should be finished before summer 2018.
At that point traffic will be moved onto the new half of the bridge and the existing bridge will be torn out. The eastbound portion of the bridge and the north-to-south turnaround will be built. During this phase of work the bridge will serve westbound traffic only. Those who would use the eastbound portion of the bridge will need to head south to FM 2252, turn around and return to the intersection.

The long detour
First ... why would we do something like this when we work so hard to minimize impact? Traffic data shows the largest demand on the bridge - by far - is the westbound side. This arrangement will actually relieve traffic issues in the area today long before the bridge is complete. It's not something we would typically do, but our engineers believe this is the right way to go.
The duration for this traffic arrangement is expected to last more than six months - not an indefinite length by any means, but certainly long enough to warrant folks gearing up for this.
Remember this will begin before the start of summer 2018, and likely wrap up around the end of the year.

Shorter detours
Everyday work activities will be done mostly behind concrete barricades without disrupting traffic. This is an around-the-clock operation, so expect crews to be out there 24 hours a day, six days a week.
Major closures will be limited to nights and, on occasion, weekends. The weekend closures will come as we need to hang support beams and demolish the existing bridge. Those closures will be announced with at least two weeks' notice.