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Tuesday, February 27

Mail Bag: I-10 frontage roads at Old Fred, signal timing, enforcement and more

Can you please explain the multiple construction delays that have occurred at Old Fredericksburg Rd and I-10 frontage Road. It was closed in October and targeted for December and had been delayed now for the 3rd time to March! How does this now take 6 months to add drainage?! Yes we’ve had rain, ice, and snow days but not for 4 months straight. This detour has been a major pain to get around for those that live in neighborhoods off the frontage roads.
- Christina
Please clarify how 4-6 days of inclement weather would cause a completion date to be extended over 90 days? Original completion was to be Dec 23.

- Vicky
We'll pull no punches here. We went directly to the contractor to find out what is going on and to let them know of the danger they're in of having their reputation in the public harmed.
Back in December Sundt's area director said they were going to work hard to get the road reopened to two-way traffic. At that time the items to get constructed before the frontage road could be reopened included a culvert and headwall, dirt work to develop the two roadway lanes and laying asphalt, curb and sidewalk. That road surface was to be wide enough for barrier so they could continue to work on a retaining wall.
At the time Sundt said they could get all that done in about 5-6 weeks, not including the mandatory break over Christmas. After adding the likelihood of inclement weather their assessment showed a completion of mid- to late-February.
So much for that idea. Here's what they said mid-February in an email update:
"Obviously, we did not make the second or third week in February to open up the westbound frontage road. We left the (storm water detention) pond construction out of the prior list on what needs to be done before the paving can go in. The access is really tight as well for the wall construction."
These are the two biggest reasons they're giving us for the delay. The lesson we're learning on our end is the need for milestones on work like this; we left the milestone off during planning as a judgment call believing the intersection would be built quickly as it was broken into quadrants. That omission won't happen in the future.
As for now, Sundt is working on that retaining wall and the pond, as well as the culvert that was being built. They have brought in two additional concrete crews to get the concrete work moving faster. Pavement work needs to wait a bit for dry weather as well as these other tasks to wrap up.
From Sundt's area manager: "We are making this corner of the intersection a priority on the job, but there is just a lot to take care of."
At the time of the email update we got a rough estimate on when Sundt would have things wrapped up. In that note they estimated:
  • Retaining wall, three more weeks
  • Concrete pads lining the pond, two more weeks
  • Concrete channel for the box culvert, two more weeks
  • Road grading and asphalt work, two weeks (cannot begin until wall and pond are finished)
  • Concrete curb, sidewalks and island, two weeks (cannot start until after the road grading and asphalt work is done)
  • Best-case scenario is to get two-way traffic reopened by March 21
Sundt isn't making the corner a priority just for fun, either. At this point they need to finish in order to do other work. As soon as they have that southeast corner of the future intersection of Old Fredericksburg Road and I-10 reopened they'll flip over to the northwest side. They'll then work around to the northeast and then the southwest quadrants. If that sounds painful, here's some assurance from that same area manager:
"These other three quadrants will go much quicker due to roadway pavement reconstruction being the only aspect of work to be done in these areas."
That is, they only have the actual roadway to mess with in the other quadrants - not a ton of drain structures.
Once the intersection is built Sundt will go to work on the new exit and entrance ramps, which need to be in place before we can switch traffic to one-way.

What do orange flags on top of stop sign mean? Thanks
- Anthony
Those are actually there just to make the sign more visible. Check out section 2A.15 in our Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices online.

Who is responsible for signal light timing on Loop 1604 near Randolph AFB between Hanover Cove and Lower Seguin Rd? It seems as though the lights are perfectly timed to make you stop at each intersection, almost without fail.
Synchronizing the lights would really help to alleviate traffic buildups here.
- Marshall
Thanks for bringing this issue up, Marshall. Those signals should be ours to time. Keep in mind they're not on a true timer - those days are over. We use instead a video infrared vehicle detection system (VIVD) on those signals, which act as smart devices to trigger the signals when a prescribed volume of traffic hits the intersection from a given direction.
We'll have our traffic operations folks check out those signals to make sure they're operating the way they should.

Just wondering whether anyone enforces the "no trucks in left lane" signs on I-35 north of 1604 through New Braunfels? I drive that section daily and see a truck using the lane at least once a week, sometimes even blocking traffic or cutting off cars. Do you have more information on the purpose of those signs? Thanks for all of your posts!
- John
On any major highway the left lane is primarily for passing. Where semi truck traffic is typically 5-10 miles per hour slower than the rest of the traffic, those trucks shouldn't be in that left lane at all.
Within city limits we can post those. You'll note they are white signs with black writing - regulatory signs. Enforcement is entirely up to the police department patrolling those roads. In the case you're describing, that would be New Braunfels Police Department or the Department of Public Safety (Comal County Sherriff has authority to patrol there, but they don't do it often in an effort to put their resources in areas not covered by the city police or by DPS).
If that doesn't answer the question, let us know and we'll give it a bigger crack!

THANK YOU! To the person(s) who had the idea, and to the person(s) who went out to westbound I-10 (before the Dominion Drive exit) and put a speed reader monitor.
Driving that part of I-10 is frustrating, and disappointing, with the speeders. With reconstruction, no shoulder, and barriers ... the speeding got horrible. Not anymore! People are slowing down! YAY!
- Mercy
We're glad you like those measures! We like to use the speed monitors as safety devices on some of our major projects where highway main lanes are under significant construction, like I-10. We are also using these radar trailers on I-35 near Walzem, and we consider them carefully for each major project as we move through the planning process.