29 Jun 2015, 11:18am
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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.

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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.

 
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