Speed limits going up

West Texas speed limit signs

If you have a lead foot, then you’ll love this news.

First, if you hadn’t heard already, the Legislature earlier this year approved– and the governor signed– a bill that would raise the statutory maximum speed limit for state highways to 75 mph (excluding, of course, the existing 80 mph speed limit on some sections of I-10 and I-20 out in West Texas.) Texas now joins all but a handful of states west of the Mississippi with a 75 mph top speed.  The limit can only be increased on roads where an engineering study determines that it’s safe to do so, but if past practice holds true, that should be the majority of roads that are currently capped at 70 mph.

Even better, the bill finally eliminates the matrix of speed limits for daytime/nighttime and cars/trucks.  All speed limits will now apply to all vehicles at all times.  Texas was the only state to still have a different nighttime limit and one of the few with a separate limit for trucks.

The new law takes effect September 1st.  A separate effort to increase the maximum speed to 85 mph died.

More recently, the speed limit on the northern arc of Loop 410 has gone up from 60 mph to 65 mph.  With the recent completion of construction to widen the freeway to 10 lanes, TxDOT completed a speed study that showed the 85th percentile speed being 65 mph, so in accordance with agency engineering guidelines, TxDOT asked the City of San Antonio to officially increase the speed limit to 65 mph north of US 90.  Signs went up this past week.

I also recently noticed that the speed limit along Loop 1604 south of Braun Rd. increased from 55 mph to 60 mph.

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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30 Jul 2010, 9:52pm
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This weekend’s trouble spot

Workers have probably finished closing down westbound Loop 410 at Perrin Beitel by now so they can restripe the highway.

Crews will work through the night and into Saturday morning, likely interrupting the busy flow of weekend shoppers and travelers. Workers should finish by noon.

The $119 million project to widen this part of Loop 410 is the largest construction job in San Antonio, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Work is slightly ahead of schedule and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year.

“We don’t have far to go,” TxDOT engineer Randy Grones assured. “The completion date is right around the corner.”

To check the latest San Antonio traffic:

Where you don’t want to be this weekend

Traffic cam

Live traffic cam from TransGuide. Image refreshes every few minutes or so.

Workers closed all main lanes of westbound Loop 410 at Starcrest for the weekend.

Motorists must exit at Harry Wurzbach and re-enter past Broadway. The busy stretch of highway is sure to coagulate into a nightmare shortly after sunrise.

Loop-410-at-Starcrest-closure

Crews are putting drivers through the hoops so they can place rebar onto a Nacogdoches Road bridge deck. The work is part of a $119 million construction project, the city’s largest, to widen that part of the freeway to 10 lanes.

The job so far is on schedule and should end before the year’s out, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

“Everyone will reap the benefits,” an official said.

Also bogging down this weekend is eastbound Loop 1604 at U.S. 281. Workers there will close a lane through 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday to repair a bridge joint.

Click map for options.

4 Dec 2009, 6:47pm
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Loop 410 closed this weekend

About an hour ago, state officials announced that construction workers will close eastbound Loop 410 on the Northeast Side this Sunday.

Crews will shut down all main lanes between Starcrest and Perrin Beitel from 7 a.m. until sometime Monday morning so they can do bridge work, the Texas Department of Transportation said.

Worthy alternative routes include Austin Highway and Wurzbach Parkway.

Motorists should also watch out for various lane closures through next week on this part of the freeway and its intersecting roads. Check TransGuide before you head out.

Also in late this afternoon from TxDOT:

Have a great weekend everyone. Stay Warm!

18 Nov 2009, 10:23pm
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Loop 410 closed this weekend

Construction workers will shut down eastbound Loop 410 on the Northeast Side this weekend so they can pour a bridge deck, the Texas Department of Transportation announced.

Crews will close the main lanes between Starcrest and Perrin Beitel from 3 p.m. Saturday until sometime Sunday. Traffic will be routed to the frontage road.

A suggestion for motorists: Consider using alternatives such as Austin Highway or Wurzbach Parkway.

Also, making the mess worse, crews will close two eastbound Loop 410 lanes between Broadway and Starcrest from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday. That’s to do pavement work.

Two freeways closed this weekend

San Antonio traffic closure, Loop 410, I-35Construction workers will shut down both directions of Interstate 35 and also eastbound Loop 410 this weekend so they can do bridge work.

Near Fort Sam Houston, crews demolishing a bridge will close all I-35 main lanes between AT&T Parkway and New Braunfels Avenue from 11 p.m. Friday to as late as 5 a.m. Monday, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

On the North Side, workers setting beams will close eastbound Loop 410 at Nacogdoches Road from 8 p.m. Friday to as late as 5 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Forecast predicts sunny skies Saturday and Sunday, with temps in the upper 70s.

I predict mighty slow going for motorists who don’t find better alternate routes, with tempers in the upper ranges. 

Useful links:

9 Oct 2009, 9:57am
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Loop 410 closed Saturday

closure_410_perrinbeitelStarting tonight, workers plan to close both directions of Loop 410 on the Northeast Side through Saturday afternoon so they can set bridge beams.

Seems this morning’s heavy rain and thundery bluster might say otherwise, but the National Weather Service predicts sunny skies by Saturday, with a high at a mellow 73 degrees.

If the weather backs off as expected, crews will close all main lanes of Loop 410 at Perrin Beitel from 11 p.m. tonight to as late as 3 p.m. tomorrow, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Motorists should use alternate streets such as Nacogdoches Road and Wurzbach Parkway, and Harry Wurzbach and Austin Highway.

Useful links:

2 Oct 2009, 10:56am
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Loop 410 closed Saturday

410_100209

Workers will close eastbound Loop 410 on the Northeast Side this Saturday so they can set bridge beams.

Crews will divert motorists to a frontage road from 2 a.m. to as late as 6 p.m., according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Traffic will probably start backing up on the freeway’s main lanes shortly after sunrise. 

To skip the mess, drivers can use Wurzbach Parkway or Austin Highway. Or, like I’ll do from the Northwest Side, you can swing wide to Loop 1604.

Click the map to find routes.

Check TransGuide for current highway conditions.

 
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