Why haven’t they widened Loop 1604?

A sign on Loop 1604 in 1983 – It’s just true today as it was then!

One of the biggest gripes among San Antonio drivers is that Loop 1604 North, from roughly Bandera Rd. to I-35 on the northeast side, is still just two lanes each way and, as a result, is often congested.  It may seem like TxDOT isn’t doing anything about it, but that’s not the case.  An expansion of 1604 has been in the works since the last millennium, but has gotten sidetracked for several reasons over the years.  Fortunately, there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

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The Flyover Fairy finally blesses San Antonio

Framegrab from dashcam video of work on the SH 151/Loop 410 interchange flyovers

Ask any roadgeek (yes, it’s a thing) and they’ll tell you that nobody (perhaps with the possible exception of California, blah!) does freeway flyovers like Texas.  And in Texas, Houston was once the undisputed King of the Flyover, although Dallas had had a nice collection of big– albeit cookie-cutter– interchanges since the ’70s even before the impressive “High Five” interchange came along in 2005.  But while doing a drive through of the abundant road work over in the SH 151 and US 90 areas here in San Antonio earlier this week, I couldn’t help but be impressed by dizzying number of flyovers now under construction here and it got me to thinking about the number of such interchanges either already open, under construction, or coming soon here in “the 210” (or is it now “the 210/726”?)

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20 Oct 2011, 5:25pm
History Roads:
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Comments Off on No road damage after South Texas earthquake

No road damage after South Texas earthquake

There was a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in the San Antonio area this morning as a 4.8 temblor struck about 50 miles southeast of the city, the largest on record for this part of the state.

The biggest quake around here before today’s was in 1993.  Long-timers may remember that just a few days before that quake, inspectors had found some cracking in a pylon supporting the then-new upper deck of I-10 near Woodlawn.  There was briefly some concern that the quake may have done additional damage.  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and the column was subsequently retrofitted with some additional tension rods.

I checked with the folks at TxDOT and they tell me that they sent inspectors out after today’s quake to look at the bridges on state highways in Atascosa County.  Everything checked-out fine.

 

Loop 410 is done!

Ribbon cutting for Loop 410 expansion

Ribbon-cutting for Loop 410 expansion

For the past 30 years, San Antonians have complained about construction along Loop 410.  But no more.  As Mayor Julian Castro said during today’s Loop 410 ribbon-cutting ceremony, “the headaches are over!”

The last leg of the nearly $1 billion “410 for SA” project to improve Loop 410 across the northside of San Antonio is just about done with just a few final “punch list” items remaining, so TxDOT and other local officials– including the Mayor, County Judge Nelson Wolff, VIA boss Keith Parker, and city councilman John Clamp– took the opportunity today to celebrate the culmination of 30 years of work that widened Loop 410 from six to 10 lanes from Perrin-Beitel to Culebra and built new interchanges at US 281, San Pedro, I-10, and Bandera Rd.  All of these improvements have helped get Loop 410 “ahead of the curve” with regards to traffic and has significantly cut congestion and delays throughout the corridor.  And the completion comes just in time: 2009 traffic counts show that Loop 410 has regained its position as the busiest highway in San Antonio with an average of 215,000 vehicles per day between I-10 and US 281.

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8 Aug 2010, 2:09pm
Aviation History Roads Travel
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Road trip to Midland and Odessa, Texas

Polikarpov I-16 at the CAF museum, Midland, Texas

Polikarpov I-16 at the CAF museum, Midland, Texas

Rolling forward on my 2010 resolution to get out of San Antonio more, I took a three day trip to Midland and Odessa, two cities, indeed a region of Texas, I had not visited before in the nineteen years I have called the Lone State home.  I set out on the last Thursday in July, which proved to be a very good time to go. more »

3 Aug 2010, 8:52am
Aviation History Travel
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Wanna fly in a C-47?

C-47-photoI had arranged to take a 30 minute flight on the “Bluebonnet Belle,” a Douglas C-47 Dakota Skytrain airplane this Saturdayy, August 7, at 11:00 AM.  The aircraft, built in 1944, flies as part of the Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force, which is based right on HWY 281 in Burnet, Texas.  There are two remaining seats available out of a total of seven on the plane the way it is currently configured.  Frankly, I am staggered that out of all the transportation enthusiasts I know I can only find five people but I guess everyone needs to be surprised once in a while. more »

Del Rio, Uvalde, Crystal City and Carrizo Springs

            amtrakCircumstances, I am happy to say, are obliging me to enlarge my somewhat parochial transportation history research endeavors.  Until recently, the furthest I had researched in depth along the old Southern Pacific railroad heading west was Uvalde.  I have taken AMTRAK as far as Alpine before and made a couple of trips to Del Rio when I worked for the Union Pacific, but such visits did not involve peeling beneath the surface in any appreciable way. more »

Bicycling to downtown San Antonio on a summer day

Augusta Street bridge, San Antonio

Augusta Street bridge, San Antonio

My wife and I spent some five hours out and about on our bikes yesterday, heading downtown from our house near Red McCombs Ford outside Loop 410 to the King William district.  Altogether it came to a trip of 22.35 miles, mostly along San Antonio’s old main thoroughfares, San Pedro Avenue and Fredericksburg Road.  We set of around 8:00 AM, when it was only 80 degrees and got back just before 1:00 PM, when it was well over 90. more »

19 Jun 2010, 8:38pm
History Passenger rail Railroads Uncategorized
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Comments Off on Good things from the Union Pacific in San Antonio

Good things from the Union Pacific in San Antonio

UP at TTM

UP at TTM

I am delighted to be able to be able to share a positive story about the Union Pacific railroad, an organization which rarely gets much in the way of good press in these parts.  Today the UP came to the rescue at the Texas Transportation Museum here in San Antonio like knights in shining armor. more »

15 Jun 2010, 11:42pm
Automobiles History Passenger rail Railroads Roads Travel:
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Comments Off on Going to Corpus Christi, then and now

Going to Corpus Christi, then and now

The main road to Corpus Christi, circa 1910

The main road to Corpus Christi, circa 1910

A wee trip to the coast, a fine way to spend a hot and hazy Sunday.  While I’m still stuck in bachelor mode – decide to go, jump in the car and away – my wife needs, shall, we say, a little more, um, preparation.  Providing my ipod is loaded and charged, I am sorted.  She, on the other hand, loaded our vehicle like the old days when we were carrying a baby.  Blankets, pillows, books, a lap top for heaven’s sake, towels, changes of clothes, the works. more »

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