Medical/Babcock plans

Click the image above for a full-size, annoted diagram

Click the image above for a full-sized, annotated diagram

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, work is scheduled to start soon on the Medical/Babcock intersection in the Medical Center.  I got a copy of the plans and most of the changes mirror those at the other Med Center intersection upgrades: new signals and signage, dedicated right turn bays on all four corners, and improved pavement.  A couple of other improvements are also planned:

  • Long, dual left turn lanes from southbound Babcock onto Medical.  This will facilitate the morning commute and help reduce the backups on Babcock that sometimes extend nearly to Hamilton Wolfe.
  • Dual left turn lanes from westbound Medical to southbound Babcock.

To facilitate the new long left turn lanes on southbound Babcock, left turns to and from Lamb Road will now be prohibited.  I know a lot of people use that to get to/from Oakdell Way– those folks will now either have to use Medical and come back around from the west or use Roanoke Run or Hamilton Wolfe to the north.  I was actually a little surprised that the plan did not completely close the Lamb Road intersection with Babcock and instead realign Oakdell Way through the empty lots there to meet Babcock at a new intersection about 150 yards or so to the north. 

Another small surprise was that the wide median on Medical on the west side of Babcock wasn’t narrowed, maybe for a dedicated left turn lane.  I often see people coming from that direction turning left onto Babcock interfere with oncoming traffic going straight or turning right and I’m convinced that the wide median there is part of the problem.  Reconfiguring that median or changing the signals to a split-phase would resolve that.

Thanks to the folks at the South Texas Medical Center Alliance, Project Control, and Pape-Dawson Engineering for making the plans available to me.

Blanco Road done! (well, almost); Babcock/Medical on deck

Somewhere on the new section of Blanco

Somewhere on the new section of Blanco

Earlier this week, crews opened all the new lanes on the final stretch of Blanco Road outside Loop 1604, specifically from Wilderness Oaks to south of Huebner.  Last month, the new lanes north of Wilderness Oaks were opened.  All that’s left to do now is some striping, signage, and other “punch-list” items and this long-awaited improvement will be completed.  Along with the recent completion of the US 281 superstreet (well, it too is still getting finishing touches), traffic in and around Stone Oak should start to see appreciable improvements.  Additionally, off to the east, work on widening Bulverde Road from 1604 to Evans is ongoing (expected completion is late 2012) and the city is in the initial planning stages to widen Stone Oak Boulevard to six lanes.

Meanwhile, work is scheduled to start in the next week or so on the latest Medical Center intersection improvement project.  Crews will begin rebuilding the Babcock/Medical intersection in a manner similar to the other recent intersection upgrades.  I haven’t see the plans yet (I’ll update this post if/when I do), but I suspect there will be dual left turn lanes from southbound Babcock onto Medical and probably dual right-turn lanes from westbound Medical onto Babcock in addition to right-turn bays in all four quadrants and other improvements.  And nearby, work on the Hamilton-Wolfe/Floyd Curl intersection is wrapping-up; I expect it to be essentially complete by the end of this month.

27 Aug 2010, 9:58am
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Comments Off on Eckhert, Braun improvements on tap this weekend

Eckhert, Braun improvements on tap this weekend

As discussed previously, a second right-turn lane is being added to Eckhert at Bandera.  That work should be completed this weekend.

Also, the new westbound lane on Braun at Loop 1604 will also be striped and opened in time for Monday’s commute.

First super-street intersection to open Monday

After yesterday’s disheartening news about the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange, I have a bit of good news today.  Earlier this week, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) announced that the first intersection in the US 281 super-street project will be completed and open to traffic on Monday morning.

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Relief coming for Eckhert at Bandera!

Echkert at Bandera

For commuters from the Medical Center to Bandera Rd., one of the worse bottlenecks is the intersection of Eckhert at Bandera.  While there are dual left turn lanes for traffic headed toward the Medical Center from southbound Bandera, there is only a single right turn lane for traffic coming from the Medical Center to northbound Bandera.  This means that during the afternoon rush hour, that right turn lane backs-up considerably, sometimes all the way to Marshall High School, which itself also contributes to the problems when school’s in session.  To get around that, drivers cut through on neighboring streets, especially Woodchase, and some cut through the Carl’s Jr./Dickey’s parking lot.  A few bold drivers even make illegal right turns from the center lane, which is marked as straight or left turn only.  And I’m sure many drivers just avoid the area entirely.

To finally provide some relief, TxDOT and the City of San Antonio are working to install dual right turn lanes.  Some initial prep work to fix the corner curb and bring the curb cut to ADA compliance was completed a few weeks ago, and the “pork-chop” island that separates the right turn bay from the through lanes was removed earlier this week.  The City now has some traffic signal work to complete and then the restriping will be done.  There’s no official completion date as of now, but I would guess that it would be done by the time school starts-up again later this month or shortly thereafter.

Loop 1604/Braun update

Future new westbound lane

Future new westbound lane

A couple of weeks ago, TxDOT completed the restriping of Loop 1604 to three lanes in each direction at Braun Rd.  This seemingly minor change has had a fairly dramatic effect on traffic.  From my own observations, typical peak period traffic jams in both directions have been significantly reduced.  For instance, southbound traffic used to back-up nearly to Bandera Road during the evening rush hour, a distance of a mile or so.  But now it typically backs-up only half of that distance or even less.  I’ll be interested to see how it looks when school gets back into session, but for now, the improvement seems to have eased things quite a bit.  If you drive through this area regularly, post a comment and let me know your observations.

TxDOT is also planning at least one other improvement at that intersection, that being an additional lane on westbound Braun.  more »

SPUI comes to Texas

us75spui

Rendering of SPUI on US 75 at Parker Rd. in Plano

Work is underway on the North Central Expressway at Parker Rd. in the Dallas suburb of Plano on what, to my knowledge, will be Texas’ first Single Point Urban Interchange, or SPUI (pronounced “spoo-ee”).  (If anyone knows of an existing one in Texas, please post it!)  Popular in several other states, a SPUI is a type of intersection between a surface street and a freeway’s entrance and exit ramps.

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