Alamo Ranch Parkway intersection getting lots of criticism

The recent opening of the overpass from SH 151 to Alamo Ranch Parkway is drawing lots of fire from residents of the area claiming that the new design is dangerous. As if on cue, a tragic crash claimed the lives of three people at that intersection just four days after the overpass opened. However, it should be noted that the crash happened on the eastbound side of ARP prior to the overpass, not coming off of it, so the overpass played no direct role in the crash.

That said, the increase in traffic caused by the overpass is overwhelming the four-way stop at ARP and Westwood Loop. The county has a traffic signal under construction there that will surely ease many of the problems folks are complaining about once it goes into operation, currently expected by the end of January. The county planned to have it operational by the time the overpass opened, but the construction of the new Casa Blanca Theater there required them to change the design in order to accommodate the driveway from the theater. Unfortunately, there was a significant delay in getting the plans for that driveway from the developer, which delayed the signal project.

Some have suggested that they should not have opened the overpass until the signal was ready. Possibly, but once folks saw that the overpass was complete, there would have been loud complaints that it was sitting unused. Opening it, while causing the problems at Westwood, does remove traffic from the Loop 1604 access roads south of Culebra, which has helped with holiday shopping traffic, and is an immense improvement for folks going from ARP to 151.

Another suggestion I see bandied about is to close the intersection until the signal is complete. If folks are suggesting to completely close the intersection, that’s a non-starter. All that traffic on ARP would then need to go somewhere else, most of it to Culebra, which would cause epic traffic jams. If folks are just suggesting maybe closing the crossover, that might work, but it would still have a ripple effect because Westwood Loop traffic would be diverted into other areas. Furthermore, the stop signs on ARP would likely have to remain in order for traffic from Westwood Loop and the theater to be able to make a safe right turn onto ARP. So the improvement by closing the crossover would be limited.

Based on the comments I see on social media and in the news, there are a lot of questions and misconceptions about this project, as well as calls to “fire the idiot who designed it”. I’ve answered those questions on this page:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!  Drive safely.

UPDATE FROM TxDOT (1/12/16): Strategy for the ARP/WWL intersection

ADDITIONAL DATA:

Alamo Ranch Parkway at Westwood Loop traffic counts:

Crash reports on ARP at WWL from 2012-2014:

  • Eastbound side: 9 crashes with 9 total injuries (one crash had 5 injuries)
  • Westbound side: 7 crashes with 4 total injuries
    (Source: Alamo Area MPO crash data)

 

 
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