19 Feb 2017, 9:04am
Commuting Roads Transit:
by

Comments Off on Not gonna use the HOV lane? It still benefits you!

Not gonna use the HOV lane? It still benefits you!

HOV-sign

TxDOT is preparing to build San Antonio’s first two high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-10 West and US  281 North. Construction of both is scheduled to start this year.

One comment I frequently hear about HOV lanes is from people saying they won’t use them, so they won’t benefit from them.  A corollary of that is that people who won’t use them don’t think their tax money should be spent on them.  As is often the case, both of these viewpoints fail to see the bigger picture.

more »

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.

more »

29 Jun 2015, 11:18am
Construction and closures Roads Safety:
by

Comments Off on Ribbon cut on Fred-Med project

Ribbon cut on Fred-Med project

After nearly 20 years in the making, TxDOT, COSA, and South Texas Medical Center officials celebrated the completion of the Medical Drive underpass at Fredericksburg Road this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and opened the new lanes to traffic a short time later.

The nearly $15 million project was primarily done for safety, namely allowing ambulances quicker access to the Medical Center from I-10, bypassing the oft-congested Fredericksburg/Medical intersection.  As if on cue, the wailing siren from an emergency vehicle trying to navigate the intersection above interrupted the ceremony.  After the ribbon was cut, an ambulance and EMS squad truck were the first vehicles to “officially” use the underpass.

more »

19 Mar 2014, 4:47pm
Construction and closures Roads:
by

Comments Off on Loop 1604 West expansion continues

Loop 1604 West expansion continues

Loop 1604 meeting

TxDOT held an open house on March 18th to show their plans to improve Loop 1604 from Culebra south to Potranco.  That section of the loop is currently a four-lane divided highway with signalized intersections at SH 151, Wiseman, Military, and Potranco.  This project will upgrade that section of the loop to an expressway by adding overpasses at Wiseman, Military, and Potranco and building access roads and associated entrance and exit ramps.  The intersection of SH 151, although technically included within the project limits (mainly for signage purposes), would not see any actual changes with this project (more on that later.)  The $69 million project is set to begin in about a year and will take about 2 1/2 years to complete.

more »

19 Mar 2014, 1:07pm
Construction and closures Roads:
by

Comments Off on What’s going on at I-10 and DeZavala?

What’s going on at I-10 and DeZavala?

If you’ve traversed I-10 at DeZavala recently, you may have noticed that the center divider is being removed.  Many folks have noticed and I’ve gotten the question more than once asking why.  A few have even asserted that they’re ripping out brand new barrier that was just re-built recently.

First off, the barrier that’s being removed is not new.  Yes, there have been several sections of barrier that were re-built in that same project area recently, but all of that was south of the Fredericksburg/Woodstone area.  You can tell the new barrier because it’s still the raw, dark gray color.  The old barrier is tan, and that’s what’s being removed at DeZavala.

Now to answer the “why”.  I-10 is being widened in that area, and consequently the DeZavala overpass needs to be widened to carry those additional lanes.  But it turns-out that the overpass also needs to raised a few feet in the process.  This means that they’ll have to tear-down the old overpass.  In order to do that, traffic will need to be shifted from one side of the overpass to the other while half of the bridge is demolished and re-built.  Therefore, the divider is being removed to allow for that traffic switch as well as the fact that it will need to be removed anyway since the bridge it sits on is being replaced.

Loop 1604 project breaks ground

Loop 1604 groundbreaking

It was so cold that I could feel my brain starting to freeze, but yours truly was standing out in the median of Loop 1604 between Braun and New Guilbeau this morning to witness the groundbreaking of the long-awaited Loop 1604 expressway project.  This $82 million project will extend the existing toll-free expressway cross-section at Bandera Rd. south to Culebra by building overpasses at Braun, New Guilbeau, and Shaenfield and adding continuous access roads and associated entrance and exit ramps.  It is expected to take about 28 months or so to complete.

more »

11 Nov 2013, 10:02pm
Data visualizations Gas taxes Laws and policies Roads Transit
by

Comments Off on Texas drivers help pay tab for roads in other states

Texas drivers help pay tab for roads in other states

When you look at how much Texas drivers hand over to Washington and how much comes back, it’s easy to feel like the feds don’t like us much.

Federal officials do not “directly” return a whopping 78 percent of fuel and vehicle taxes collected in Texas. That’s second highest among states; behind Iowa with its 84% bye-bye rate and well ahead of third-place Florida.

Unfortunately, though, there’s a bigger untold story here. Officials invested more than half of those collections into projects straddling one or more states. And the data doesn’t show how those amounts were distributed among states.

So the 78% no-return likely isn’t as bad as it looks. Texas probably received more. Still, hover over the interactive map above and you’ll see a wide range of give and take, including Alaska’s 60 percent gain.

The data, from fiscal 2011, is the latest from the Federal Highway Administration. I saved it to a CSV file and used D3.js, with an assist from ColorBrewer.js and some custom javascript, to display it here. Have fun.

Texas road-rage accidents dashboard

When are drivers likely to lose their cool, to the point of rage?

I figured the hours after bars closed on weekends were the hot times. But that’s not true, according to a state road-rage database obtained by the Express-News.

I put together an online dashboard to query the database, which is hosted as a Google Fusion Table. It’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of layered filters, such as age, gender, ethnicity, days, times, etc.

Try it out below. For convenient side-by-side comparisons, click the “Compare Two Views” button under the dashboard.

I gleaned a few interesting insights myself.

more »

2 Aug 2013, 10:24am
Gas taxes Roads:
by

Comments Off on Texas replacing paved roads with gravel

Texas replacing paved roads with gravel

Usually, when a  road is riddled with potholes, the solution is to patch or repave.

But in South Texas, where big trucks servicing the state’s latest oil boom are pulverizing pavement, the state’s answer is to tear up the asphalt and return the roads to gravel. Posted speed limits then have to drop from 55 mph to 30.

While the gas and oil boom is boosting state revenues by some billion dollars a year, the Texas Department of Transportation still largely relies on a two-decade old gas tax that inflation has cut in half. Lawmakers just can’t find the gumption to raise the tax, and don’t sound confident about other possibilities.

With the Legislature going into a special session to tackle the problem, KLRN TV’s Rick Casey lays out the issues in this 4-minute video. Here’s the text.

Ballenger projects starting back up

After the bankruptcy of Ballenger Construction late last year, several TxDOT and COSA projects were lain dormant.  The good news is that their bonding company is nearing the end of the process to hire new contractors to get those projects finished.  Work should be starting next month again on the I-10 project (Ramsgate to Loop 1604) and the “bookends” of the Wurzbach Parkway project.  I’m not as familiar with the COSA projects, but I hear the Hunt Lane project should also have a new contractor by this time next month.

Recent Posts

Linkroll