Funding approved to complete Wurzbach Pkwy

wurzsignThe Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) yesterday approved $130 million in Proposition 12 bond funds to complete the Wurzbach Parkway in San Antonio.¬† The parkway project, which began in the late ’80s as a beltline to connect I-35 to I-10 across North San Antonio, has been built piecemeal over the years as funding has become available.¬† Earlier this year, TxDOT updated the environmental studies to make the project “shovel-ready” in case federal stimulus funds became available.¬† That didn’t materialize, but that preparation paid-off Thursday because the Legislature had mandated that the first batch of Prop 12 funds be spent by September 2011.¬† Therefore, the TTC prioritized projects that could be started quickly.¬† Because of that prep work the local TxDOT folks did, Wurzbach Parkway fit that criteria nicely.

The final leg of the parkway will be constructed in three segments: Blanco to West, West to Jones-Maltsberger, and J-M to Wetmore.  Work on the eastern and western segments is projected to start next summer.  The middle segment should get underway a year later.  All three segments should take about two years each to complete.

Wurzbach¬†wasn’t the only project in the San Antonio area to get funded.¬† Lighting improvements on I-35 south of Rittiman and at US 281, installation of cable barriers in the median of I-10 in far western Guadalupe County, and widening of part of FM 306 in Comal County also got funded.¬† And, of interest¬†to everyone along the I-35 corridor,¬†funds were approved to essentially complete the widening of I-35 from San Antonio to Hillsboro, namely long segments north of Waco.¬† You can see the complete list of projects here.¬† (Link updated 12/01/09)

Officials in the DFW area felt shortchanged in this process, getting only $126 million for minor maintenance projects in their region.  According to news reports, officials there feel penalized because of their robust support for toll-roads.  Bowing to public pressure, the Leg stipulated that Prop 12 funds could not be spent on toll projects.  Most of the big projects getting ready to start in the DFW area have a toll component to them and thus were ineligible for these funds.  And, as some pointed-out, DFW has gotten more than its fair share during some other recent rounds of funding.  Metroplex officials have decided to regroup to see how they can ensure funding for projects in the future.

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