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Monday, March 26

Our process of acquiring right-of-way

We've had an influx of calls recently as folks grow curious about potential right-of-way purchases made to accommodate proposed highway expansions. Some of these questions come from folks living along corridors we know we'll be expanding while others have heard rumors upon rumors of expansion.
Today we'll go over our right-of-way acquisition process and address each of the questions we are asked. That said, there's no place to answer every single question perfectly - there are simply too many specific individual questions to answer properly here. This is intended to serve as a foundation so we are all on the same page with the basics. For all the details on the process in all their Legalese glory, check out Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code.

When do we know we'll need to acquire right-of-way?
This is actually a tricky question, but the short answer is we know really early in a project's conception whether or not we'll need to purchase right-of-way. It's a matter of simple math. Geometry, to be specific. If we're doubling the capacity of an FM road, for instance, we can easily to see whether we need to take some right-of-way to make it happen.
That doesn't mean our right-of-way agents will come calling during those initial planning stages, though. According to a guide from our Right Of Way Division our initial contact with a property owner "must be delayed until all preliminary requirements for highway project development have been met". That process, in some instances, might take years. It involves environmental clearances and federal approvals in addition to other requirements.
Once those barriers have been removed one of our authorized representatives will reach out personally to each individual impacted by right-of-way acquisition well before the project moves to construction. Our priority is to address this and have the right-of-way purchased and cleared before we even select a contractor, which answers the actual question at hand here.

Will TxDOT just take my property?
The short answer here is no. When we acquire right-of-way it becomes a fairly normal real estate transaction. As a property owner you have a constitutionally protected right to fair compensation for property purchased from you. You also have a right to gift that property to the state if you wish.
Beware anyone who may approach with stories of how state agents will come in and take your land. That simply doesn't happen. What does happen is personal contact prior to an appraisal of your property. Our agents will invite you to be present during the appraisal - you can even bring your own appraiser. We'll even look at any improvements to your land, including gates and irrigation and anything else.
As soon as the appraisal and review is finished you'll get a written offer for the purchase of the property. You'll get to counter our offer, if you feel we missed something, and we'll get together to find an agreeable amount. This purchase price is private and not subject to open records requests.
Included in the eventual purchase of the right-of-way will be compensation to remove any major improvements, appropriate relocation costs if needed and any established damages. Details on all this will be specific to the land acquired and appropriate information will be given to the agents of the property involved.

Does the purchase include a confidentiality agreement?
While the transaction is not disclosed publicly by TxDOT and isn't subject to open records until well after the project is complete we do not typically require sellers to enter into a non-disclosure agreement.

Why all the rumors and worry?
We really think most folks become worried about right-of-way acquisition on a highway expansion because of the unknowns involved. We hope this brief primer helps relieve so many worries with the assurance our agents aren't out to steamroll anyone (we've abandoned use of steamrollers long ago...). We hear frequently from folks whose first contact regarding acquisition of their property comes from private law firms when that contact should come directly from us. Simply put, those notices of action coming from private sources are marketing ploys and do not reflect accurately the actual plan for a highway expansion.
When we do reach out, we send a letter and a host of information so you're familiar with the process up-front. It's a lot more detailed than this post is, and it's written in an easy style so you don't need a lawyer to go through it for you. You're still welcome to get representation, but we want everyone to know the process up front so all our cards are on the table.

What do I do if I think my property might be involved with a right-of-way purchase?
The first thing you can do is verify whether a project is even scheduled along the highway corridor your property bumps up against. Our master list of currently programmed projects can be found on our Project Tracker online application. By clicking on the segment of roadway impacted by a project (that line will be either red, orange, green or blue) a box with some critical information on the project pops up. That information includes an estimated date of letting, which means we'll receive bids from contractors at that time, and a basic description of the work.
Pro tip: if it's a resurface project or seal coat, we won't need to buy right-of-way. If you see a refresh of pavement markings, we won't need new right-of-way. If the scope of work shows we're expanding or reconstructing, there's a pretty decent shot we'll need to buy right-of-way to get the job done.
If it looks like there's an expansion project in your neck of the woods keep an eye out for public meetings to happen about a year or so before the project goes to bid. You can see any materials presented at those public meetings online here if you miss out.

I see road work happening now and I'm worried my property will be needed.
If we're already under construction - even if it's just moving utilities around - we've already gotten the right-of-way we need. At the least we'll have contacted and opened negotiations with everyone already. If you see actual construction activity on your corridor and you've not yet heard from us, we're not going to be buying right-of-way from you. There's no reason at that point to continue to worry or fight against the prospect of development, no reason to fight against some terrible swoop that's just not coming.
Before utilities can be properly adjusted ahead of a project, before we can begin a project, we need to have that right-of-way secured. That's got to happen before we can even select a contractor. We've tried starting projects sooner as a means to accelerate project delivery; it doesn't work. We now know right-of-way needs to be had first, then construction can happen.
So if you're already seeing construction and you've not been contacted ... well ... we're not taking right-of-way at your location. Breathe easy.

Friday, March 23

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Boerne
  • Sunday-Wednesday, March 25-28. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes at Scenic Loop. The left lane will close while crews set barrier.
I-10 – Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Current until Friday, April 27. Westbound frontage road at Old Fredericksburg Road. All lanes will close while crews replace drain structures. Traffic will follow the signed detour route, including a temporary route under the new overpass at Old Fredericksburg, to reach its destination.
I-10 – Leon Springs
  • Sunday-Tuesday, March 25-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Camp Bullis and La Cantera. The right lane will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Friday, April 6 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, April 8 at 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Crista Bella and La Cantera Parkway. The left lane will close while crews move barrier.
  • Friday, April 13 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, April 15 at 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, between Boerne Stage Road and Camp Bullis. The left lane will close while crews move barrier.
I-35 – Austin area
  • Friday-Sunday, March 23-25. 11 p.m. until 10 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at William Cannon Drive. All lanes will close while crews demolish portions of the bridge. Traffic will exit William Cannon Drive, continue along the frontage road and use the next available entrance ramp. This closure includes William Cannon Drive under I-35. Traffic on William Cannon Drive will turn right onto the frontage road and turn around to reach its destination.
  • Friday-Sunday, March 23-25. 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, at FM 3406. All lanes will close while crews set bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will exit the highway, follow the frontage road and re-enter the highway.
I-35 – New Braunfels
  • Sunday-Tuesday, March 25-27. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Schwab Road and FM 1337. The left lane will close while crews take samples of the roadway.
  • Monday, March 26 until Friday, April 6. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Schwab Road and FM 1337. The right lane will close while crews take samples of the roadway.
I-35 – Schertz
  • Current and continuous until October 2018. Frontage roads, both directions, at FM 1103. One lane will close while crews replace the FM 1103 overpass bridge.
  • Saturday, March 24 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, March 25 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at FM 1103. All lanes will close while crews place bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will exit FM 1103, pass through the intersection and re-enter at the next available ramp.
  • Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. until Monday, March 26 at 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes at FM 1103. All lanes will close while crews place bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will exit FM 1103, pass through the intersection and re-enter at the next available ramp.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Current until Monday, March 26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews do road work.
  • Current until Thursday, March 29. 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Turnarounds, both directions, at Rittiman Road. The turnarounds will close while crews do concrete work. Traffic will use the intersection to turn around and reach its destination.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, March 27-28. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Pine Street. The right lane will close while crews work on guardrail.
I-410 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Saturday, March 24. 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Eastbound connector to northbound I-35. The right lane will close while crews lay asphalt.
I-410 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at US Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will go west on US Hwy 90, turn around at Hunt Lane and return to I-410 to reach its destination. This closure includes the right lane of the main lanes.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Valley Hi and Marbach. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the road at the next available intersection.
  • Current and continuous until December 2018. Turnarounds, both directions, at Marbach Road. The turnarounds will remain closed while crews construct the new Marbach overpass bridge. Traffic will use the signalized intersection.
  • Current and continuous until December 2018. Northbound exit ramp to Marbach. The ramp will remain closed while crews reconstruct the road. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90 and continue along the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Monday, March 26 until Friday, April 6. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will take the westbound frontage road of Hwy 151, turn around at Ingram Road and return to southbound I-410 via the eastbound frontage road of Hwy 151.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will exit Hwy 151, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway.
U.S. Hwy 281 – North San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes at Sonterra Boulevard. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Sonterra Boulevard. Traffic will use the entrance ramp from Donella Drive to reach its destination.
Loop 1604 – North San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road between Gold Canyon and US 281. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road. This closure includes the ramp from westbound Loop 1604 to northbound US 281. Traffic will use the Gold Canyon-Redland Road exit to reach its destination.
Loop 1604 – West San Antonio
  • Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m. until Saturday, March 24 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at US Hwy 90. The right lane will close while crews reset barrier.
  • Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m. until Saturday, March 24 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at Marbach. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
Other roads – Converse
  • Monday-Thursday, March 26-29. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. School Street, both directions, between FM 1516 and Station Street. All lanes will close while crews install a water line. Traffic will use Avenue G to reach its destination.
Other roads – Helotes
  • Current until Tuesday, May 1 at noon. Northbound Bandera Road at FM 1560. The left turn lane will close while crews do road work. No left turns will be permitted. Traffic will continue to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
Other roads – Boerne
  • Monday-Thursday, March 26-29. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Hwy 46, both directions, between Blanco and Anhall roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews set barrier. This closure means we will be using one-way traffic control using off-duty police.
Other roads – Leon Springs
  • Friday, April 13 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, April 15 at 5 a.m. Dominion Drive at I-10. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will turn right onto the frontage road and turn around to reach its destination.
Other roads – Northwest San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Bandera Road, both directions, between Loop 1604 and Stonecroft. Alternating lanes will close while crews move barrier and shift traffic lanes.
All closures are pending weather.

Major closure(s) on I-35 this weekend

Initially this was set to be an overnight closure for next week we would've simply published in our closures report and move along. Yesterday afternoon our contractor, Anderson Columbia, got administrative approval to move the date up considerably.

The closure
All main lanes will close, one side at a time, at FM 1103 in Schertz while crews set bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will exit FM 1103, pass through the intersection and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp. No traffic will be permitted on the FM 1103 bridge during this closure.
When we say this closure will be one side at a time that means we'll only have one direction closed at once. Saturday night, starting at 9 p.m., we'll close the northbound main lanes. Southbound lanes will function normally. The main lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Sunday.
Sunday night, starting at 9 p.m., we'll close the southbound side and have it reopened by 5 a.m. Monday. During this closure the northbound side will operate normally.
By the way we'll have trucks hauling those bridge support beams parked along the frontage roads during the day, so keep an eye out for that.

The good news
Daytime traffic will be relatively unaffected, unless you're traveling in the wee morning hours before dawn.

The rough news
This isn't the only major closure on I-35 in the area. Our folks in Austin will be shutting down all lanes of I-35 Friday night and Saturday night at William Cannon Drive in south Austin. That closure will run from 11 p.m. and about 10 a.m. each night. This will facilitate bridge demolition work for an expansion project they've got up that way.
They've also got an overnight closure at FM 3406 in Round Rock. That one will close northbound I-35 Friday at 10 p.m. (the lanes will reopen by 8 a.m. Saturday) and the southbound lanes Saturday at 10 p.m. (again, they'll reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday). This is so crews can set bridge beams, just like our closure.

Why the time change
The work in Austin was pre-planned for this weekend and coordinated up thataway. Our closure in Schertz was initially set for next week but pushed up due to inclement weather forecasts for next week.
Normally we require two weeks' notice from the contractor for any major closure so we can get things published well in advance. This requirement was set aside so we could move forward without adding delay to the project (planning for next weekend isn't possible; we prohibit major closures over Easter weekend).
This was only permitted because the closure will effectively impact overnight traffic only, avoiding impacts for long durations or during critical traffic hours. It will not be the new norm.

Thursday, March 22

Closure of Big Mesa Drive happening Monday

Update on 6 April: The closure of Big Mesa will not happen until the week of April 9.


We've got another side-street closure along the Loop 1604 expansion coming next week and we're trying to do a better job getting word out in advance.

Closed Now
We don't really have any side-street closures happening right now, but we do have a few side streets with limited access. This includes Spurs Ranch and Emory Peak, which both have limited access to or from northbound Loop 1604.
To reach both from northbound Loop 1604 traffic will go to the next intersection and turn around, then return via the southbound lanes. For Emory Peak that means driving all the way to Potranco Road - a three-mile jaunt - to turn around. For Spurs Ranch that means turning around at Marbach as has been done since the neighborhood was built.
Reaching the northbound lanes is a particular challenge for those coming from Spurs Ranch. While the folks at Emory Peak will simply turn around at Marbach the folks at Spurs Ranch have a much more tricky route. These must go to US 90, travel west to Montgomery or east to Hunt Lane, turn around then return to Loop 1604 to get to where they're going. We are acutely aware of how long this route is - by the way, it's the posted detour route that's been in place since November - and we're working on a fix. Unfortunately we had no better option without adding incredible cost and time to the overall project. The good news: relief is around the corner; we'll have turnaround options available mid-April.

Coming up
Beginning the morning of Monday, March 26 Webber Construction will close the intersection of Big Mesa and northbound Loop 1604 so they can rebuild the intersection to match the new curb edge of the northbound frontage road. That work should take less than three weeks.
During the closure Webber is committed to maintaining the driveway off Loop 1604 to the EZ Mart, but access to the store - and to the two churches located off Big Mesa - should come from Buffalo Pass (which intersects with Marbach) - likely the route most coming from southbound Loop 1604 are using anyway. Things will return to normal by mid-April.

Big Picture
For most of the length of the project the northbound frontage road will follow the path of the existing northbound lanes. With traffic now mostly moved onto the southbound frontage road crews are focusing on those few locations - including the area between US Hwy 90 and Big Mesa - the northbound frontage road isn't exactly matching the existing lanes. Work on the turnarounds at locations like Military, Potranco, Marbach and US 90 is also underway in earnest, with a priority on the turnarounds at US 90 and Potranco.
Overall completion of the project between Hwy 151 and Potranco is next year. The project continuing the expressway through US Hwy 90 will wrap up in 2021.

Monday, March 19

In time for the #FinalFour: that northbound I-37 ramp

One might say we're a bit excited for the Final Four set to roll into town here next week. Most of our engineers are Aggies, after all - and we even have a rogue Raider or two on staff hoping for a few more trips to Whataburger. All are way more loyal to their teams than their brackets (perhaps particularly this year).
They're also committed to ensuring a smooth weekend for the influx of basketball fans surely headed this way.
One major concern had by folks in our community is the northbound I-37 exit ramp to Carolina and Florida avenues. The ramp closed late last year while crews repaired an issue with the ground and erosion. It will reopen by our close of business March 22.
While it won't directly impact those headed to the Alamodome between March 30 and April 2, we have been working to ensure the ramp would indeed be open to ensure smooth traffic flow in the area.
After the crowds clear locals will see some work continue, but we think we'll be able to finish things up without closing the ramp down long-term again.

Friday, March 16

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Current until Friday, March 23. Westbound frontage road at Old Fredericksburg Road. All lanes will close while crews replace drain structures. Traffic will follow the signed detour route, including a temporary route under the new overpass at Old Fredericksburg, to reach its destination.
I-10 – Leon Springs
  • Sunday-Wednesday, March 18-21. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound main lanes between Camp Bullis and Ralph Fair roads. The right lane will close while crews set barrier. This closure includes the left lane of the frontage road. Ramps will be closed as needed.
  • Wednesday, March 21 at 9 p.m. until Thursday, March 22 at 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Two Creeks and Boerne Stage Road. The left lane will close while crews set barrier.
I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Tuesday-Friday, March 20-23. 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between Ackerman and Foster roads. Alternating lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work at Foster Road.
I-35 – Schertz
  • Current and continuous until October 2018. Frontage roads, both directions, at FM 1103. One lane will close while crews replace the FM 1103 overpass bridge.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Current until Monday, March 26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews do road work.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Saturday, March 17 at 7 p.m. until Sunday, March 18 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes at New Braunfels Avenue. Alternating lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work.
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 18-22. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at AT&T Parkway. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 19-22. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at AT&T Parkway. The right lane will close while crews repair drain inlets.
  • Monday-Thursday, March 19-22. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound main lanes at AT&T Parkway. The right lane will close while crews do work on guardrail.
I-37 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current and continuous until Thursday, March 22 at 5 p.m. Northbound exit ramp to Florida and Carolina avenues (exit 140A). The ramp will close while crews rebuild the slope near the exit. Traffic will exit Cesar Chavez (exit 140B) and turn around to reach its destination.
I-410 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at US Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will go west on US Hwy 90, turn around at Hunt Lane and return to I-410 to reach its destination. This closure includes the right lane of the main lanes.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Valley Hi and Marbach. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the road at the next available intersection.
  • Current and continuous until December 2018. Turnarounds, both directions, at Marbach Road. The turnarounds will remain closed while crews construct the new Marbach overpass bridge. Traffic will use the signalized intersection.
  • Current and continuous until December 2018. Northbound exit ramp to Marbach. The ramp will remain closed while crews reconstruct the road. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90 and continue along the frontage road to reach its destination.
  • Saturday, March 17. 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. Northbound main lanes between Walzem Road and Thousand Oaks. All lanes will close while crews lay asphalt. Traffic will exit the highway, follow the frontage road and re-enter at the next available ramp.
  • Saturday, March 17. 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. Southbound main lanes between Walzem Road and George Beach. Alternating lanes will close, two at a time, as crews lay asphalt.
  • Sunday, March 18 at 5 a.m. until Monday, March 19 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between Randolph Boulevard and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Monday, March 26 until Friday, April 6. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close while crews do road work.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will take the westbound frontage road of Hwy 151, turn around at Ingram Road and return to southbound I-410 via the eastbound frontage road of Hwy 151.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will exit Hwy 151, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Wednesday-Thursday, March 21-22. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Westbound main lanes between Montgomery and Hwy 211. The right lane will close while crews move barrier.
U.S. Hwy 281 – North San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes at Sonterra Boulevard. The left lane will close while crews set barricade.
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes at Sonterra Boulevard. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road.
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at Sonterra Boulevard. The left lane will close while crews shift traffic. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Sonterra Boulevard. Traffic will use the on-ramp from Donella Drive to reach its destination.
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road at Sonterra Boulevard. The right lane will close while crews shift traffic.
  • Monday-Friday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes at Sonterra Boulevard. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road. This closure includes the entrance ramp from Sonterra Boulevard. Traffic will use the entrance ramp from Donella Drive to reach its destination.
Loop 1604 – North San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road between Gold Canyon and US 281. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road. This closure includes the ramp from westbound Loop 1604 to northbound US 281. Traffic will use the Gold Canyon-Redland Road exit to reach its destination.
  • Tuesday, March 20 at 9 p.m. until Wednesday, March 21 at 5 a.m. Westbound main lanes at US 281. The left lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, March 26-30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road between Gold Canyon and US 281. Alternating lanes will close while crews restripe the road. This closure includes the ramp from westbound Loop 1604 to northbound US 281. Traffic will use the Gold Canyon-Redland Road exit to reach its destination.
Loop 1604 – West San Antonio
  • Friday, March 16 at 9 a.m. until Monday, March 19 at 3 p.m. North-to-south turnarounds at both Potranco Road and Military Drive. The turnarounds will close while crews do road work. Traffic will move through the signalized intersection to reach its destination.
Other roads – Seguin
  • Sunday, March 18 at 5 p.m. until Monday, March 19 at 6 a.m. North Austin Street, both directions, at Hwy 123. Alternating lanes will close while crews lay asphalt.
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Northbound Hwy 46 between CH Matthies Drive and I-10. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews install bridge-mounted overhead signs.
Other roads – Converse
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. FM 1516, both directions, between Old Cimarron Trail and South Street. All lanes will close while crews install water line. Traffic will use South and Kneupper streets to reach its destination.
Other roads – Helotes
  • Current until Tuesday, May 1 at noon. Northbound Bandera Road at FM 1560. The left turn lane will close while crews do road work. No left turns will be permitted. Traffic will continue to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
Other roads – North San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 19-23. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound NW Military Highway between West Avenue and Braesview. The right lane will close while crews build sidewalks.
Other roads – West San Antonio
  • Friday, March 16 at 9 a.m. until Saturday, March 17 at 3 p.m. Westcreek Oaks Drive, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews restripe the road. Traffic will use Military Drive, Potranco Road and Grosenbacher Road to reach its destination.
All closures are pending weather.

Wednesday, March 14

The latest on Loop 1604: major traffic shifts

Since we started the $121 million expansion of Loop 1604 on the west side of San Antonio in 2016 we've somehow managed to talk about it fairly infrequently on the blog. That's because most (not all) of our work to this point has been well out of the way from travel lanes. Where only minor inconveniences exist, major blog posts do not.
All that is about to change this week with major traffic shifts for southbound traffic between Wiseman Road and US Hwy 90. These changes will also address the problem the patient folks of the Hillcrest neighborhood have been dealing with.


At Spurs Ranch
Since we've had an influx of calls and emails of late - and we certainly understand why - we'll get this issue answered first and foremost.
The posted detour for folks from the Hillcrest subdivision has been using US Hwy 90, turning around at Hunt Lane, then returning to Loop 1604. We know the detour can be really long. We ran that detour once ourselves in the middle of the day back in January. It took us about 10 minutes to make the whole trip from Spurs Ranch at Lp 1604 back to northbound Lp 1604 passing Spurs Ranch again.
Since then we've been working out solutions for the problem.
Our best bet will come after we've got traffic shifted over to the southbound and northbound frontage roads (more on that in a moment). At that point we'll have turnaround options for drivers, but there will be a brief few weeks folks will be forced to take the long detour.
Once all southbound traffic is moved onto the frontage road folks in Hillcrest will no longer be able to make that illegal move they've been making to jump across Loop 1604, against the grain, to use that turnaround just north of Red Musket Trail. Yeah, we've noticed that maneuver. Turning around through the construction barricades where the northbound and southbound lanes split won't be an option any more, either.
We are building a south-to-north turnaround at US Hwy 90 - a permanent fix for this issue - that will open up late April. This will be the way traffic from Red Musket or Spurs Ranch reaches northbound Lp 1604 forever, even after the project is finished.
Before that can be opened up we'll need to move northbound traffic over onto the new bridge over US 90 and shift traffic between US 90 and Big Mesa onto the new northbound frontage road. That's set to happen mid-April.
That shift to the new bridge will give drivers a chance to turn around at the eastbound frontage road of US 90 by way of the new signalized intersection.
By the way, we've been in touch with the heroic folks working at Bexar County Fire Department House 2, there on Spurs Ranch. We're making sure they've got a viable route to those northbound lanes to keep their response times down.


At Dove Canyon
The major traffic shift coming up will bypass - for now - Dove Canyon. Two weeks ago Webber Construction found a karst feature while digging. Environmental guidelines at both the state and federal levels require us to send biologists in to make sure the karst feature is not a habitat for endangered species.
Before we go further let's dispel any alarm. This is a very standard situation for projects like this. We're in the middle of the Balcones Fault Zone, and karst features are a fairly common thing to come across in any construction project in Bexar County or in the Hill Country. We already have displacement habitats identified should this feature be pegged as a habitat for protected species. We anticipate no threat to the project at large.
When these things happen rumors seem to fly around about how the biologists do things. What actually happens is a simple process of setting a sticky trap baited with a substance known to attract any species we know live in the area. This is usually something like peanut butter, interestingly enough. The traps are checked a couple of times a day over the period of a few weeks. Once we are given the all clear (which we fully expect to happen) we'll seal up the karst feature and you'll see southbound traffic moved onto the new frontage road to match what's happening north and south of Dove Canyon.
We expect that to happen by mid-May.


The first switch
The major change to southbound traffic will happen during the early hours of Thursday morning and will be in place before the morning commute. This will happen between Dove Canyon and US Hwy 90.
This shift holds the largest long-term impact on traffic overall, as southbound traffic will be removed from the overpass at Marbach with this change. The overpass bridge will be fitted to hold all northbound traffic while a new overpass is built to handle southbound traffic in the future. Due to the move off the overpass - and elimination of the south-to-north turnaround that goes with it - traffic engineers will adjust timing of the Marbach traffic signals. We will monitor the signals for the next several weeks to ensure the timing is optimal for all traffic directions.


The next switch
Saturday morning, beginning at 7 a.m., Zachry will move southbound traffic onto the frontage road just south of Wiseman Boulevard through Potranco Road. This shift will effectively eliminate use of the turnarounds at Military Drive and at Potranco. Traffic trying to turn around at either location will use the signalized intersection to do so. We will have traffic engineers on hand to adjust signal timing to handle the additional traffic loads as appropriate.
The shift will leave the intersection at Wiseman as-is. This means traffic using the turnaround at Wiseman to reach Northwest Vista College, the Wells Fargo Wiseman campus or the eastbound lanes of Hwy 151 will still be able to do as they are doing today. At least, for now. At some point in the future we'll need to switch traffic over to the frontage road to build the overpasses at Wiseman. That change is currently planned to take place about the middle of this summer.


Dove Canyon
The shift onto the southbound frontage road through Dove Canyon, as we mentioned above, is set to take place mid-May as long as everything pans out as planned. When that happens, don't expect major closures or anything - it'll be a simple matter of moving some barrier and will take a bit more than an hour, tops.
This will all but complete the shift of the southbound main lanes onto what will be the frontage roads when we're all done with work, allowing crews on both segments of this expansion to work in earnest on the main lanes, including the overpasses you've probably noticed start going up in a few locations.
This reduces significantly the need for lane closures as we do the work on the main lanes, particularly as we've used weekend closures to reconstruct a number of intersections already. Moving forward keep an eye out for digital message boards announcing weekend closures as we get closer to setting bridge support beams over those cross streets.


Near US 90
With traffic mostly shifted and while waiting for the outcome of the biological study at Dove Canyon Webber will have crews working diligently to finish the new northbound lanes between US 90 and Big Mesa. Getting those new lanes built, including the new northbound overpass at US 90, allows us to open up the turnarounds we discussed earlier.
The first of two turnaround options will be open the second week of April along with the northbound bridge and frontage road. By moving traffic onto the northbound lanes dirt crews can finish the turnaround at US 90 - the permanent fix for access to northbound Lp 1604 for those folks coming from Spurs Ranch and Red Musket. That turnaround will finish up late April.
With traffic shifted to the new frontage roads in both directions crews will build in earnest the main lanes and overpasses on the southbound side. Northbound work will come later this year.

The new main lanes between Hwy 151 and Potranco Road are set to open for traffic mid-2019. Work on the main lanes between Potranco and US Hwy 90, including the southbound Loop 1604 connector to eastbound Hwy 90, will finish in 2021.

Monday, March 12

Mail Bag: A whole lot of I-10 stuff, FM 1103 at I-35, US 281 at the Guadalupe River

I'm curious about some of the project dates on this web site. On the Upcoming Projects page, the project to build the bridge over I-10 at Balcones Creek Road and convert the frontage roads to one-way between Fair Oaks Parkway and the Bexar-Kendall county line is scheduled to start in 2018. The project to expand the US 87 and TX 46 bridges over I-10 and convert the frontage roads to one-way between Scenic Loop Road and TX 46 is also scheduled to start in 2018.
However, the project to convert the frontage roads to one-way between Scenic Loop Road and the Bexar-Kendall county line is shown as starting in 2026. Is that a mistake, or will the other projects actually take 8 years to complete before this project is required?
Also, can you share an estimated completion date for the Fair Oaks Parkway bridge over I-10?
- Lee

Those dates are drawn from our project tracker, which pulls from our Unified Transportation Program. The UTP is updated every year and gives a comprehensive look at our 5- and 10-year plans. The middle segment, between Scenic Loop Road and the Bexar-Kendall county line, is placed last on the list of segments to be finished for one-way frontage roads conversion due to budgeting constraints. We'll start before 2026 if we can secure the funds to do so.
Each of those projects, which will often move forward concurrently, will take about three years to finish (that's a generic time range for reference; each project has its own timeframe).
As for the completion of the Fair Oaks Parkway bridge over I-10, RELMCo Inc. is on pace to have that wrapped up this summer. That's summer 2018. As in just a few months from now.


First of all, thanks for the great work you do with the mailbag. It’s always a fun - and informative - read!
I’ve been curious about the use of panels on Wurzbach Parkway over Blanco Road. These are the green wall-like structures that prevent drivers on Wurzbach Pkwy from looking down onto Blanco. To put it simply: what purpose do they serve?
Similar overpasses of the Parkway over West Ave., Jones Maltsberger, Nacogdoches, and Perrin-Beitel don’t have these panels. What’s special about Blanco?
- Juan

First of all, thank you and you're welcome!
Those panels are visual barriers, preventing the headlights of evening drivers from peering into apartment windows immediately adjacent to Wurzbach Parkway right there. It also maintains some semblance of privacy for the residents. You should find similar visual barriers along the eastbound lanes of Wurzbach Parkway over Perrin-Beitel.
While there is an apartment complex at the corner of West Avenue and Wurzbach, it is set far enough back from the highway and is separated from the parkway with a strip of trees. These natural barriers eliminate the need for the visual barrier panels you're seeing at Blanco.


Who is responsible for the timing of the signals on Hausman at 1604? In both directions the signal on the near side of 1604 turns green at the same time as the signal on the far side.
- Jim

Those signals are timed by the city of San Antonio. We'll reach out to our friends there to ask they take a look at the issue.


Thank you for the post about speed limits on I-10. I think I am the only one driving 60 mph and cars ride my bumper and pass me like crazy. Please add more speed limit signs and the LED reader boards. Thank you.
- Beth

We're happy to do what we can to improve the safety along any highway corridor. We'll take a look at this and other corridors and see if there are any additional signs we can add to improve awareness of the speed limits. That said, what typically helps the most in this area is enforcement of the speed limit, which we understand will be increasing as work continues to move forward.


With the bridge replacement project on I-35 at FM 1103, we know that the turn around lanes have been added to the original project. The last we had heard the move of the exits IS NOT included on this project. The northbound 35 exit to 1103 is already too close to 1103 and adding the turnaround lane will compound that issue. Have the plans changed to address the exits or what will it take to prevent the inevitable crashes that will happen frequently on a short exit with turnaround lanes?
- Jeff

The turnarounds were included with the project when it bid and were part of the actual design of the project. They may not have been part of the package presented in public meetings but were certainly part of the plans when we got bids from contractors.
The distance between the end of the ramp and the start of the intersection, heading north, is about 600 feet. We actually have design standards giving us the desired distance at an intersection like this. The total volume of the frontage road and the ramp is less than 2,500 vehicles per hour. The total traffic volume of FM 1103 at this location is just a shave higher than 750 vehicles per hour. We have three or more lanes for traffic to weave between the ramp and the intersection.
As you can see, Table 3-16 shows we like to have at least 460 feet between the end of the ramp and the intersection at a location like this. We have about 600 feet, exceeding by more than 30 percent the design requirements for an approach like this.
Knowing we've exceeded the design criteria as we have, we are confident this location will continue to be a safe intersection enjoyed by all.


Is there any plan to go back between Huebner and DeZavala to add an entrance to I-10 west? The only entrance that is left is very dangerous with all the traffic from the Huebner area merging with the Fredericksburg road traffic to merge to get onto I-10 west then merge with all the traffic getting off at UTSA Blvd.
- Max

The short answer here, Max, is no. The distances involved out there are beyond adequate to handle what we've got, and since we've had the current configuration in place (it's been a few years) we've seen no crash data to suggest any real hazard. It's actually in line with the standard used across the country. Adding another entrance to westbound I-10 would be redundant and actually create hazards.
If you don't remember the way the road was configured prior to the project in 2012 that built I-10 between Huebner and Lp 1604 as you know it today, we actually had two on ramps from Huebner Road. We eliminated one as a way to improve safety, and that safety enhancing configuration is the one you're seeing today.


I am still wondering about the I-10 project from Ralph Fair to fair oaks Ranch. According to the info provided at the open house the schedule for this project was:
  • Begin Construction ― I-10 improvements (frontage road conversion, ramp reversals, and Old Fredericksburg Rd / Buckskin Dr overpass): Fall of 2015
  • Fair Oaks Pkwy Bridge: Fall of 2016
  • Construction time ― I-10 improvements: Approximately 2 Years
  • Construction time ― Fair Oaks Pkwy Bridge: Approximately 1 Year
That indicates that the I-10 improvements was to run from Fall 2015 2 years to Fall 2017. It is now early Spring 2018 and this project is several months from being done. It appears to me the contractor under-resourced this project from the start.
What happened? Weather can not be blamed for all this delay. What is a realistic completion date now?
-Bob

Bob, we're glad you asked. First off, timetables given at those open house meetings are based on best engineering guesses with the plans not fully fleshed out. When you got these dates we didn't have full plan sheets drawn out and the target timeframes were goals to be met.
We began work on the I-10 improvements late March 2016 - a six-month delay from our intended start date due to some utility conflicts in the area - with a timeline of just over two years. We still have a few months from time expiring on the contract. If work isn't complete at that point we'll charge liquidated damages for each day the project continues beyond the contracted completion date. While we don't decide for the contractor the resources they ought to commit to a project, the consequence at the end of the job is, essentially, the contractor working for free (which is bad business for any private business).
By the way, the Fair Oaks Parkway bridge project began early 2017 with an 18-month schedule. We are currently on track to finish before the end of the school year, which is actually a bit ahead of the contract requirement.
One last thing: You'll recall in the open house we discussed totally closing the bridge and having it built in one piece to meet that construction timeline of a year. That plan was scrapped at the behest of those attending the open house who didn't like the idea of eliminating access to the bridge long-term. We were clear at the time the requested construction process would about double the duration of the project.


What is the estimated time to completion for the work at US 281 and the Guadalupe river? Also, what is being done? Thanks.
- John

This is a project that's really run under the radar, despite being a fairly major project up in Comal County. Thanks for bringing it out for us, John.
We are updating the southbound bridge deck over the Guadalupe River. That means a new bridge deck, new bridge rail (replacing the steel barrier with concrete barrier), cleaning up the bridge structure and the like. We've also recently added some pavement repair to the scope of work on the project.
All told work should be finished next summer (that is, Summer 2019). Between now and then you'll see a variety of traffic shifts. As those happen we'll do our best to get them posted here.

Friday, March 9

Next week's construction-related closures

I-10 – Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Current until Friday, March 23. Westbound frontage road at Old Fredericksburg Road. All lanes will close while crews replace drain structures. Traffic will follow the signed detour route, including a temporary route under the new overpass at Old Fredericksburg, to reach its destination.
I-10 – Leon Springs
  • Saturday, March 10. 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Westbound main lanes between La Cantera Parkway and Dominion Drive. The left lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Sunday, March 11 at 9 p.m. until Monday, March 12 at 5 a.m. Eastbound main lanes between Boerne Stage Road and Camp Bullis Road. All lanes will close while crews remove an overhead highway sign. Traffic will exit Dominion Drive, move along the frontage road and re-enter at the next available ramp.
I-10 – East San Antonio
  • Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m. until Monday, March 16 at 5 a.m. Main lanes, both directions, at Foster Road. Alternating lanes will close while crews set bridge deck panels overhead.
I-10 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Monday-Friday, March 12-16. 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Eastbound main lanes between Roland and Amanda. Alternating lanes will close while crews work on the bridge joints.
I-35 – Schertz
  • Current and continuous until October 2018. Frontage roads, both directions, at FM 1103. One lane will close while crews replace the FM 1103 overpass bridge.
I-35 – Northeast San Antonio
  • Monday, March 12-Monday, March 26. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Main lanes, both directions, between George Beach and Thousand Oaks. Alternating lanes will close as needed while crews do road work.
I-35 – East San Antonio
  • Monday-Thursday, March 12-15. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Main lanes, both directions, at AT&T Parkway. The right lane will close while crews do concrete work.
I-37 – Downtown San Antonio
  • Current and continuous until Thursday, March 22 at 5 p.m. Northbound exit ramp to Florida and Carolina avenues (exit 140A). The ramp will close while crews rebuild the slope near the exit. Traffic will exit Cesar Chavez (exit 140B) and turn around to reach its destination.
I-410 – East San Antonio
  • Saturday, March 10 at 4 a.m. until Monday, March 12 at 5 a.m. Southbound main lanes between FM 78 and WW White. All lanes will close while crews resurface the road. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
  • Saturday, March 10 at 4 a.m. until Monday, March 12 at 5 a.m. Northbound main lanes between WW White and FM 78. The right lane will close while crews resurface the road.
I-410 – West San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 16. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Marbach and US Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews set bridge support beams. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at US Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will go west on US Hwy 90, turn around at Hunt Lane and return to I-410 to reach its destination. This closure includes the right lane of the main lanes.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Valley Hi and Marbach. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the road at the next available intersection.
  • Current and continuous until December 2018. Turnarounds, both directions, at Marbach Road. The turnarounds will remain closed while crews construct the new Marbach overpass bridge. Traffic will use the signalized intersection.
  • Friday-Sunday, March 9-11. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Marbach and US Hwy 90. All lanes will close while crews set concrete bridge support beams overhead. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90, follow the southbound frontage road and re-enter the highway at the next available ramp.
  • Monday, March 12. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Northbound frontage road at Marbach Road. The right lane will close while crews work on the crosswalks.
  • Monday, March 12. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Southbound frontage road between Pilar Street and US Hwy 90. The right lane will close while crews install street lights.
  • Monday-Friday, March 12-16. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road between Hwy 151 and Marbach Road. All lanes will close while crews move barrier and restripe the road. Traffic will go north to Culebra Road to get onto the southbound main lanes of I-410. Traffic will exit US Hwy 90 and turn around to reach Marbach Road.
  • Monday-Friday, March 12-16. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound frontage road between US Hwy 90 and Marbach Road. The left lane will close while crews install conduit for utility lines.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, March 13-14. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Northbound frontage road between US Hwy 90 and Marbach. The left lane will close while crews move barrier.
I-410 – Northwest San Antonio
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound frontage road at Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will take the westbound frontage road of Hwy 151, turn around at Ingram Road and return to southbound I-410 via the eastbound frontage road of Hwy 151.
  • Current until Friday, March 30. 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Northbound main lanes between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do bridge work. Traffic will exit Hwy 151, continue along the frontage road and re-enter the highway.
  • Saturday, March 10 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, March 11 at 5 a.m. Southbound frontage road between Military Drive and Hwy 151. All lanes will close while crews do overhead concrete work. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
  • Monday, March 12 at 9 p.m. until Tuesday, March 13 at 5 a.m. Northbound frontage road between Hwy 151 and Military Drive. All lanes will close while crews do overhead bridge work. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
U.S. Hwy 90 – West San Antonio
  • Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m. until Monday, March 12 at 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews reconstruct the intersection. Traffic will use Kriewald, Pue and Marbach roads to reach its destination.
  • Sunday-Friday, March 11-16. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Westbound frontage road between I-410 and Tomar Drive. All lanes will close while crews pour concrete overhead. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
Highway 151
  • Saturday, March 10 at 9 p.m. until Sunday, March 11 at 5 a.m. Westbound frontage road between Military Drive and I-410. All lanes will close while crews pour concrete overhead. Traffic will follow the posted detour route.
Loop 1604 – West San Antonio
  • Sunday-Thursday, March 11-15. 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. nightly. Southbound main lanes between Marbach Road and US Hwy 90. The right lane will close while crews set barrier.
  • Monday-Friday, March 12-16. 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Southbound main lanes between Military Drive and Potranco Road. The right lane will close while crews move barrier.
  • Friday, March 16 at 9 a.m. until Monday, March 19 at 3 p.m. North-to-south turnarounds at both Potranco Road and Military Drive. The turnarounds will close while crews do road work. Traffic will move through the signalized intersection to reach its destination.
Other roads – Helotes
  • Current until Tuesday, May 1 at noon. Northbound Bandera Road at FM 1560. The left turn lane will close while crews do road work. No left turns will be permitted. Traffic will continue to the next intersection and turn around to reach its destination.
Other roads – East San Antonio
  • Monday, March 12. 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. New Braunfels Avenue, both directions, at I-35. All lanes will close while crews work on concrete bridge rail. Traffic will use Walters Street to reach its destination.
Other roads – West San Antonio
  • Friday, March 16 at 9 a.m. until Saturday, March 17 at 3 p.m. Westcreek Oaks Drive, both directions, at Loop 1604. All lanes will close while crews restripe the road. Traffic will use Military Drive, Potranco Road and Grosenbacher Road to reach its destination.
All closures are pending weather.

Thursday, March 8

I-10 HOV lanes: bridging the gap is the push

As weather gets warmer weekend traffic to the Texas Hill Country starts to swell (who can blame anyone for taking a trip up that way?). As you drive through the construction zone along I-10 west of town you'll note the progress that has been made at the several overpass bridge crossings.
It's at the overpasses you'll note our work to first build the new inside lane of the highway before getting to that outside lane. Flatiron Construction is working to have incremental improvements ready for drivers by opening the inside lane for traffic, giving drivers three lanes of I-10 out to Ralph Fair Road, before fully working on the outside lane.
Bridge-building crews have been working in a progressive fashion on the overpasses along the project. Specialized crews finish work at one location to move on, allowing the next specialized crew to fill in behind. We have crews that demo the edge of the bridge so the new portion blends seamlessly, crews who dig foundations for bridge support structures, concrete crews that build the bridge support structures and bridge crews that set beams and build the actual bridge itself.
At Dominion Drive you'll see columns and bridge support caps between the existing main lanes. Together these will support the bridge beams. At Camp Bullis Road crews are drilling foundations for these columns.
Work along the entire project is contained behind barrier during the day with only minimal overnight closures planned over the next few weeks. Even at both these intersections drivers will see no major daytime impacts due to the work.
The other major overpass on this project, at Boerne Stage Road, is where crews demolishing the old bridge rail are working. You'll see overnight closures to let this happen, but no impacts to the intersection itself are expected. Once the old bridge rail is removed the next wave of crews will begin building up the support structures at Boerne Stage and you'll start to see how that bridge will expand.
 
What’s next at the bridges?
The specific traffic control plan for diversion around the construction zone will be tailored to accommodate the bridge work and will protect our crews as well as motorists. Two options for traffic control are being evaluated and, once finalized, you will be updated in our next post regarding what to expect while the main structure of these bridges get built. Stay tuned.
 
What else is going on?
  • Still working on our storm sewer drain structures
  • Still working on storm water detention ponds
  • Working on retaining walls at a few locations

Wednesday, March 7

A letter from a reader on drunk driving

One of our readers submitted the following letter, which we are publishing without any edits.
It's against the law for us to advocate for or against legislation of any kind. With matters such as this it's our position at TxDOT that a single drink in an evening is too much for an individual planning to drive, as it would potentially take hours for that alcohol to work its way out of the system. This is why we spend so much effort educating folks on the value of having a person appointed to stay sober for the ride home after an evening out.
By the way, we feel the same way about distracted driving - which has become an epidemic among drivers across the nation.
While we believe the lede of a recent Express-News article about record-levels of alcohol consumed in San Antonio was intended to be satirical, the article was published without further commentary to clarify that point. The letter sent to us was intended as a reader response to the article:


Along with several other readers, I am also disturbed by the media praising San Antonio alcohol sales. A recent Express-News article begins: "Congratulations, San Antonio: you drank more than $600 million worth of alcohol in 2017." Is this fact something to be proud of? Then in another section of the paper I read about a wrong way drunk driver killing people. Local TV news also brags about SA's alcohol sales. What is wrong with this picture?
My wife and I moved to this area a few years ago from Albuquerque. New Mexico has had DWI checkpoints for many years. They are very effective. A few years ago a 52 year old state district judge was stopped during the beginning of a Memorial Day holiday. He appeared in an orange jumpsuit on the TV news that evening, and ended up losing his career. That sent a real message to people who might have considered drinking and driving. I cannot understand why Texas thinks these checkpoints are a violation of our freedom when cellphone use while driving is not. Drunk drivers are probably worse.
Our legislators must wake up and our news media must stop glamorizing alcohol sales.
- David Herron, Boerne

Tuesday, March 6

New Braunfels update: Lp 337 busily - and noisily - moving along

We turned Hunter Industries loose to work on the Loop 337 widening project back in November. This $43.3 million project expands the roadway from its existing two lanes to a four-lane divided roadway between I-35 and Hillcrest Drive while adding a sidewalk on one side of the road.

Hunter Industries is currently focusing their efforts on widening existing bridges over Landa Street, Hwy 46 and Rock Street/Gruene Road. This means drilling shafts for bridge support foundations while working on the actual roadway widening between New Braunfels High School to River Road. Different crews have different specialties, and Hunter has ensured they have several crews on site to move the project quickly. They are also working on sound walls at strategic locations within the project limits. Which brings us to an issue that's cropped up....

We’ve recently received noise complaints from some who live near Loop 337. Our team is looking into these issues to see if any additional sound walls are needed. Here's the challenge: sound barrier walls, designed to keep noise from highways on the highway, require a lot of considerations before we can install them. And, unfortunately, those who live several blocks off the highway but hear the noise anyway aren't a required consideration for these countermeasures.

Right now we are investigating the issue; once we have anything definitive we'll make sure to let folks know what the plan moving forward will be. In the meantime we want all to know we've heard the concern, we understand it's not just construction noise folks are experiencing and we're doing what we can to address the issue.

We are also reviewing some driveway, drainage, and utility issues in the project area based on feedback from residents during construction.

In addition to construction work our crews have also addressed some potential safety and environmental issues. Hunter has installed construction fencing at the three railroad crossing locations and installed a rock berm—basically, a physical barrier used to control erosion and sedimentation—to protect the environment in that area. We're also trying to address driver concerns regarding mud on the roadway during wet conditions by installing specific construction exits made of rock for the trucks to use. These exits tend to knock most of the mud off tires as trucks move back onto the road. While we’re all thankful for all the rain we know well the difficulty it can cause for drivers and our construction team. We appreciate your patience while we work to tackle these issues.

All told we are about four months into a four-year project and (so far) running on schedule. We expect to have much more to share with you as work continues and progress is made. Our goal is to have posts like this about once a month, or as needed otherwise, so check back often for the latest.