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Thursday, May 31

Mail Bag: Chrostopher and AJ discover our Mail Bag....

When will you address the absolute nightmare at Fair Oaks Ranch bridge due to the closure of the frontage road? What is the progress of the work being done at Old Fred? You have been radio silent these past two weeks despite numerous calls.
- Michael
Where are the police that have been helping direct traffic on the FOR bridge during rush hour? They have disappeared this week this causing major delays once again. If I can’t get to work, I can’t pay taxes to fund this disaster you call road construction.
- Tina

So ... truth. We have received a number of phone calls and emails about the Fair Oaks Parkway overpass. On our end, we take one or two of those and reach out to project staff to have the issue addressed. We file away those couple of communications - and the dozen or more that follow - and move forward. We work to communicate as much as we are able, but cannot always keep up with the demands of some areas in our 12-county district.
We apologize that means the Fair Oaks community felt we were ignoring them. We assure y'all that was absolutely not the case. Our communications team simply has a larger swath of area to focus on - 12 counties! - with similar communication demands and we work hard to try keeping everyone we can in the loop on their projects.
All that said, a good bit of the issues y'all were seeing should have calmed now that Sundt has finished work on the frontage roads requiring the closure that complicated that area. What's more, you're about a month from being finished totally with work at the FOP intersection itself. We hope to have the frontage roads converted to one-way soon, which will open up the capacity of the frontage roads. It'll also mean the new exit ramps will be open, storing the traffic waiting at the FOP intersection onto the frontage road and getting that traffic off the main lanes.

Not a question today, just a compliment. I travel west on 151 every morning (between 0610 and 0710) and since the new flyover to NB 410 opened, it has been much less congested just as your folks planned. Thank you! It has reduced my commute time as well as any stress. I'm sure it will also improve safety in the area. Thanks again!
- Roy

We're as glad as anyone to see a plan work out! We're hoping to see a similar improvement when the direct connectors at I-410 and US 90 are finished in the next 18 months or so. We're getting so close to all that happening!
Also, Roy, thank you for reaching out. Comments like these really mean a lot to our guys in the field (and yes, they do actually read these posts)!

I have a plethora of questions! Now that I found this page I'll probably be emailing you a lot! (Sorry in advance).
151/ Alamo Ranch: I just read on one of your blogs that ARP is owned by the city and not the state, thus y'all (basically) have nothing to do with it. Yet, I have also know that SH 151 is potentially planned to extend to/ through SH 211 AND that ARP is basically built as future SH 151 access roads. So... I don't get it. Is TXDOT planning to in the near (or distant) future acquire/ incorporate ARP into 151?
SH 211: Are y'all at least considering extending SH 211 north to I-10 and south to 35? I think it's phenomenal that there is this active planning to acquire right of way and build this highway AHEAD of the growth, knowing the highway will be desperately needed in the near future. However, it seems like it could never be realized to its full potential/ usefulness without these connections (especially to I-10). Would an extension to I-10 be incorporated into or connect to the future highway planned as part of the "Kendall Gateway Study"?
- Christopher

We're excited for the plethora - and we hope to answer them all! We make one simple promise, Christopher: we'll be direct and honest. The answers may not be what folks love to hear, but they will be completely and unabashedly truthful.
On to the questions you've got. We'll start with the Hwy 151-Alamo Ranch Parkway question.
It seems very logical to continue Hwy 151 through Hwy 211 following the path of Alamo Ranch Parkway. However, that's not the case today. Frankly we've been working to get lane-miles off our system wherever possibly rather than adding roads to our grid.
That said, if the county (owner of ARP right now) includes the turnover of ARP to TxDOT as part of a larger transportation funding strategy in the future we would be happy to listen. Something like that would require a lot of folks to say "yes", though, including (but not limited to) the Alamo Area MPO, Alamo Regional Mobility Authority and the Texas Transportation Commission.
But as of right now, today, this moment ... us taking on Alamo Ranch Parkway isn't something we have written anywhere in our scheme.
As for Hwy 211 ... right now Bexar County Public Works is working to connect Potranco and Culebra roads. Beyond that ... we haven't had any detailed conversations at this point. Our recommendation if you feel this is a solution we should move aggressively on: get involved with the MPO and make comments at the Kendall Gateway meetings. We'll pass along the idea to our planners to ensure it's on the radar, but it's really going to take some local calls to make something like this viable.

As with all construction projects, I know things change as progress is made. What are the current timelines for the I-10 corridor projects? Namely:

  • Ralph Fair to Fair Oaks
  • Old Fred intersection
  • Fair Oaks intersection
  • activation of one-way frontage roads through Fair Oaks
  • HOV lanes (I remember reading that this project will be opened in phases with first section to take a year, but progress seems to be moving rather quickly.)
Is there a webpage where I can read about the planned stages?
- AJ

Hey, AJ! You've reached out via email, but we're going to answer all these questions on the blog so all can benefit. You can look at the details of what we're doing on each project online here.
As for updated timelines, this blog is the go-to source. With that in mind, here's the latest schedule:
  • Ralph Fair to Fair Oaks will wrap up this fall
  • Old Fred intersection is open for business, though we still have that signal to install and have our traffic division turn on
  • The intersection of Fair Oaks itself is set to be finished by Independence Day, but we have to wait for the frontage road conversion to open the intersection to full capacity
  • We're still nailing down a firm timeframe for the frontage road conversion and hope to have something firm to discuss next month; right now we're leaning toward opening things in four stages with the Old Fred intersection being the divider ... the determining factor will really be the new exit and entrance ramps
  • The expansion of I-10 to include HOV lanes between Ralph Fair and La Cantera is still on its initial pace; they expect to open up one lane each way as soon as 2019, with final completion and that fourth lane opened early 2021

I noticed the 2015 animated video showed two "managed lanes" on each side and the 2017 video shows one HOV. Any background on the change?
- AJ

We're guessing you're talking about the I-10 project on this. Honestly, we don't build where we're not wanted and, in this case, the local input was such that we change the plan from two managed lanes each direction to a single HOV lane and a traditional non-tolled express lane.

Why is the bridge over the Guadalupe River on 281 Spring Branch closed and when will it open again? Are repairs going to be made? Nothing has been done in weeks except traffic is now down to one lane over the River. You need to notify folks if roads are going to close.
- Trudy

We're totally reconstructing the southbound bridge, Trudy. It'll take us a while to get it all done out there - we've been trying to keep in touch with local media to keep folks up-to-date. When we shut down the bridge we found some pavement failures we didn't expect. Those are now fixed so we've moved our contractor on to the actual bridge.
As for the work ... we're tearing the bridge down to its skeleton, basically, and reconstructing everything around the frame. It won't be expanded with this one, but will be upgraded significantly.
The bridge will remain closed for the duration of work, which will be over a year.

What are the planned closures for I-10 west out of San Antonio [both NB and SB] the weekend of Memorial Day, specifically Saturday May 26, 2018 after 5:00 pm - need to get into and out of Boerne and Cordillera Ranch.
- Linda

We didn't have any closures! We actually avoid any major closures on major holiday weekends, period.
We're sorry we didn't reply sooner, Linda. Mail bag questions are collected and answered on this forum and not a place we offer immediate answers with direct emails. In the future you can check our weekly closures post online, or follow us on Twitter for real-time issues or answers.

Thank you for finally making a promise date, and opening up the WB access road at Old Fred on the 25th.
- Dave

We're as thrilled as anyone to see that kind of progress. We're hoping to keep the momentum! Right now Sundt is focusing on the new exit and entrance ramps so they can begin a successive chain of frontage road conversions. We're hoping to have all the major work done out there by the end of summer, though it's likely you'll still see equipment moving around into the fall just a little bit.
Bottom line: we're with y'all on this one. Fast is good when it comes to project delivery, and we're pulling all the levers we can to make it happen!

Is I-10 East still scheduled to be closed starting June 1? I saw something about it on your blog post from earlier in May. Just wondering if that is still the plan.
- Brad

It is - check out our latest closures list for updated plans.