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Monday, October 23

Loop 337 expansion in New Braunfels to start

A four-year, $43.3 million, project expanding Loop 337 to a four-lane divided highway between Hillcrest Drive and Altgelt Lane starts this week with Hunter Industries working immediately on setting barricades and on clearing work areas within right-of-way but off the existing road.
A formal groundbreaking by the city of New Braunfels will take place November 15 at 10 a.m. at the Oakwood Baptist Church.
Whew. That was a keyboardful. It gets you the nuts and bolts, though. Let's now turn to details.

Project overview
Loop 337 has long been a two-lane road looping around New Braunfels and connecting commercial hubs along the north end of the city, the growing west side and along the south end. We are expanding the road to a four-lane divided highway while adding sidewalks along the entire thing.
It's not an expressway, so current intersections will look pretty well the same - just with a whole lot more traffic capacity on Loop 337. This means existing bridges over Landa, Hwy 46 and Rock Street/Gruene Road will be expanded. Other intersections will remain signalized.

What to expect
First of all, this project will be going for about four years - expect work to continue through the end of 2021. Hunter Industries has a reputation in the New Braunfels community for moving projects along quickly and staying on schedule ... but that doesn't mean they'll be able to wrap up a four-year-job in two years. If you live, work or play along Loop 337 (which is pretty much all of New Braunfels) expect to see work every bit of those four years.
The good news is the work is almost entirely outside the active traffic lanes. Closures will be extremely minimal and limited to overnight hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. We won't be working Friday or Saturday nights. Hunter Industries will typically be out there six days a week.
By contract we won't close two consecutive intersections at the same time.
We are already aware of big events in the area - like Wurstfest or the Comal County Fair - and will make sure we're not getting in the way.

The first few weeks
The first work on any project is setting barrier and clearing right-of-way. None of that will impact your daily traffic.
Hunter wants to begin the heavy lifting by working on bridges - that work will be, after all, the heaviest of the project. We have seven bridges being built on the job, and Hunter's folks say they'd like to begin on the bridges over Gruene Road and over the Guadalupe River.
None of this work will impact daily traffic.

If you're a Unicorn
Don't plan on using construction as an excuse for being late to class, first of all. We will not be doling out excuse slips for students any time soon.
During the first phase of work you'll see no change in the way traffic moves in front of New Braunfels High School. That first phase will last about two years.
Come time this year's freshmen are getting ready to drive we'll have southbound traffic all on the new lanes and kids coming out of the school will need to use turnarounds designed to make the corridor safer to reach the new lanes. We'll have details about the daily view of traffic during later phases when they come about.

Phasing
The first phase will construct - almost completely - the new southbound lanes. This includes all seven new bridges as well as new sidewalks. Crossovers along the route between the northbound and southbound lanes will be built at this stage as well. The first phase will take about two years.
During phases two and three we'll move southbound traffic onto its new path (but it'll still just be one lane) and keep the northbound side where it's at while we rebuild the northbound lanes in halves.  Each of these phases will take about a year.
The final phase, which will only take a few months, will be the final surface of asphalt.