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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Comments Off on Wanna fly in a C-47?

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 »

8 Jun 2010, 8:32am
Automobiles History Travel Uncategorized
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Comments Off on Actually, they are all divas

Actually, they are all divas

WE8I had small, jolly close to subtle, magnetic signs made for the Texas Transportation Museum’s 1924 Model T truck that simply say, “The Diva.”  This is because while the old girl runs pretty well on our unimproved roads and neighboring streets, it acts out badly during show time.  Oh well!

Here is a link to a set of snaps taken at the recent fourth annual Ford Model T Show here in San Antonio.  It is a joint project with the local Model T club, the “T Fords of Texas,” and sponsored by the Red McCombs Automotive group.

http://www.txtransportationmuseum.org/WE.htm

 It was during this event that I arrived at the surprisingly conclusion that all  Ts are divas.  That’s why they are still here.  Someone was just too crazy about each one to let it go.  So far this year I have had the pleasure of touring both Medina and Caldwell Counties in this persnickety old machines and I fully understand the devotion.  Now all I have to do is get the one I am looking after for future generations to run right!  Having said that she did come through in spades during the Flambeau Parade, so she makes all the effort worthwhile!

My days at the TxDOT photo archive

I-10 south of De Zavala looking north, 1966

I-10 south of De Zavala looking north, 1966 (TxDOT archive)

After returning from my Florida vacay a couple of weeks ago, I spent the balance of my time off of work at the TxDOT archive in Austin.  I had been wanting to go for years after seeing some of the great historical photos from there on other roadgeek websites.  I was not disappointed.

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