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Wednesday, February 28

Are the lanes of I-10 west of town really that narrow?

We've had more than a few folks call, email or otherwise ask us about the lane widths on I-10 between La Cantera Parkway and Ralph Fair Road, where we're adding two lanes in each direction.
 
Just how wide are the lanes?
Throughout the construction zone lanes are set at a typical standard of 12 feet wide with a minimum separation between the edge of the lane and the concrete barrier of one foot, measured from the inside edge of the lane line.
That's the typical width of the highway lanes. In a few small stretches of the construction zone the travel lanes are reduced to 11 feet while maintaining the one-foot separation to the concrete barrier. For reference, most vehicles range from five feet wide with small compact cars and seven feet wide with large pickup trucks. Semi trucks are, by federal standard, just over eight feet wide.
By the way, at a height of nearly four feet those concrete barriers tend to tower outside car windows. Some have even commented on how close the barriers feel when driving through. We're all Texans, after all, and we're used to our wide-open spaces. We can’t be blamed for appreciating some elbow room.
You still have that full foot between the edge of the lane and the barrier, though.
 
Why the varying lane widths?
Safety is our top priority. The traffic control plan for this job, which is specific to the project, sets lane widths and standards in the work zone to keep motorists and the work crews safe. Project supervisors are constantly assessing conditions and making approved changes as needed.
One change you may have noticed is the reduced speed limit for the westbound lanes. That 60 MPH limit is not just a construction-zone recommendation. It's enforceable by law enforcement, and you can't simply get out of speeding tickets in work zones by going to traffic school. We've recently set out new speed limit signs equipped with radar and an LED reader board showing drivers their own speed to help drivers obey the new speed limit.

What’s up next for the project?
  • Crews will continue the placement of storm sewer facilities
  • Drill shaft boring at Camp Bullis bridges will take place in the next couple of weeks
  • Construction of bent caps at Dominion bridge will occur
  • Placement of asphalt bond breaker between the eastbound and westbound main lanes will be added