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Thursday, August 10

Next I-10 closures at Fair Oaks Pkwy

We have two more weekend-long closures impacting I-10 at Fair Oaks Parkway coming in August. And, to be completely honest, these are going to be doozies. They'll have a greater impact, by far, than the previous two closures.
Here's a look at what's going on, taking things chronologically:
August 18-21
This closure will have little impact on the main lanes of I-10 but will be significant for the intersections on the frontage roads. Actually, we will completely close the intersections - on both sides - at Fair Oaks Parkway.
Work will begin about 9 o'clock Friday night (August 18) and finish no later than Monday morning (August 21) at 5 o'clock. We are hoping to be wrapped up with this work a little early, though.
When work is done all traffic on the Fair Oaks Parkway bridge will be moved onto the turnaround bridge. Yes, there is enough space - just enough for a pair of narrow travel lanes. Nothing too extreme, but it was built wide enough to accommodate traffic for the detour.
During the closure we'll have some pretty interesting detours in place. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's what things will look like (click on it to enlarge):
The orange area is the work area - and will be completely closed through the weekend of August 18-21.
Those trying to reach Fair Oaks Parkway may do so through Leslie Pfeiffer Drive. Those trying to get to Tarpon Drive need to use Windwood Drive. If you're headed to those businesses in the area, you'll do so following the same routes - Windwood Drive and Leslie Pfeiffer.
Again, with a little luck with weather and equipment we won't be at it all weekend and folks can return to normal well before Monday morning.
When work is done for the weekend the intersection of Fair Oaks Parkway and the westbound frontage road of I-10 will be skewed quite a bit. That skew will continue until the project is finished and traffic is on the new bridge.
August 25-28
This one is the big'un.
We'll have all main lanes of I-10 closed - both directions, to be clear - beginning 9 p.m. August 25 until 5 a.m. August 28. This is the weekend we're demolishing the old Fair Oaks Parkway overpass bridge.
Traffic will use the same detour path we've used before with two lanes exiting the highway in each direction, then re-entering after the intersection. We've seen this work well for us thus far.
Please don't expect this work to wrap up so early the way it did during other closures, though. Demolishing a bridge takes a while - it's an involved process. First crews will lay down a bed of sand or dirt under the bridge. This ensures falling concrete chunks don't do significant damage to the roadway underneath. The bridge is cut and broken into pieces and hauled off in as controlled a manner as possible. Getting trucks into and out of the closure area can be difficult as well, and slow some of the work. We have contingency plans in place, but this can slog things a bit.
Once the bridge is wrecked and pieces hauled out we have to clean up the road, including that bed of sand, and inspect the road surface to ensure we don't have any major damage. Once our inspectors are satisfied the road is traffic-worthy everything opens up and is back to normal.
It's an involved process and will certainly take the entirety of the weekend.
Looking beyond
For those keeping tabs these are the third and fourth major closures at this location. When the project began we anticipated about ten such closures - which means we're about halfway through the misery. The next major closure won't come until we are ready to hang beams - and in order to do that we have a lot of concrete work to do. The likelihood of setting those beams before the end of 2017 is pretty slim, unless RELMCo really speeds up their processes.
One of those ten remaining closures - and likely the final closure - will mirror what we're doing August 18-21 to get the intersection rebuilt and traffic into its final configuration.
Still on schedule
By the way, this project is still on schedule to wrap up by summer 2018.