Construction and closures Roads: Loop 1604 stimulus funds Texas Department of Transportation Tommy Adkisson widening
leave a comment
Local TxDOT officials joined with several dignitaries yesterday to cut the ribbon on a project that widened Loop 1604 near Randolph AFB. The 17 month, $6.6 million project upgraded 2.5 miles of Loop 1604 from a two-lane “farm” road to a four-lane divided highway. The project came in on-time and under budget.
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting included US Representative Henry Cuellar. Cuellar helped secure the federal economic stimulus funding to get the project off the ground.
This section of the loop has been in the news recently. A project to continue the expansion from its current terminus at Lower Seguin Road to I-10 is planned to start next year. However, county officials had briefly considered transferring funding from that project to construct the northern set of ramps at US 281 and Loop 1604. An alternative source of funding was found, however, thus allowing the widening project to continue as planned.
It’s worth noting that this expansion mirrors a similar expansion done on Loop 1604 West nearly two decades ago. Road improvements tend to be incremental or evolutionary. The road system San Antonio has today didn’t just drop out of the sky one day. The project dedicated yesterday upgraded a congested and dangerous two-lane road to a four-lane divided highway with traffic signals. This configuration is a substantial improvement over the previous road and is more than adequate for the current needs and for those in the foreseeable future, just as the expansion of Loop 1604 south of Braun Road was back in the ’90s. Will traffic growth eventually render this roadway obsolete? Maybe. But building a full-fledged expressway at this location now is unnecessary and would have been an injudicious use of scarce funding, just like doing so out on Loop 1604 West back in the ’90s would have been.
Construction and closures History Roads: construction interchange Loop 410 Texas Department of Transportation widening
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.
Construction and closures Roads: Babcock Road intersection Medical Drive South Texas Medical Center widening
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.
Construction and closures Roads: Babcock Road Blanco Road Bulverde Road intersection Medical Drive South Texas Medical Center superstreet US 281 widening
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.
Construction and closures Roads: De Zavala Jones-Maltsberger railroad crossing stimulus funds US 281 widening
Crews opened all the new lanes on Jones-Maltsberger at the railroad tracks by the Quarry this past weekend. Finish-up work should be completed by Thanksgiving, just in time for the Christmas shopping frenzy. As you may recall, work began there earlier this year to finally remove the long-standing bottleneck between the Quarry and US 281. Work was expected to be finished last month, but this year’s unusual rain delayed things just a bit.
Meanwhile, work began last month on a long-awaited (or maybe long-feared) project to widen De Zavala between Babcock and Cogburn. The project will widen the road to five lanes (two each way plus a center left-turn lane) and add sidewalks, curbs, and updated traffic signals. The $17 million project is expected to be completed in mid 2012.
Roads: Braun Road intersection Loop 1604 superstreet Texas Department of Transportation widening
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 »
Construction and closures Roads: I-10 Prop 12 funds public meeting stimulus funds Texas Department of Transportation widening
leave a comment
Sorry for the lack of posts lately. With my website update and the holidays and the ensuing aftermath, I’ve been a wee bit busy, not to mention just spending time with my adorable 16-month-old! But I’m ready to dive back in, so here goes…
I just got home from TxDOT’s public hearing on their long-planned improvements to I-10 West. As I mentioned earlier this week, my recollection was that the proposed changes would include adding an extra freeway lane in each direction and removing the existing outbound DeZavala exit. That indeed still forms the core of the improvements package, but there were a few other goodies.
Construction and closures Roads: Jones-Maltsberger railroad crossing stimulus funds widening
leave a comment
Long a bane for shoppers trying to get to the Quarry Market from US 281 or vice-versa, improvements are finally on the way for the railroad crossing on Jones-Maltsberger.
Last week, the city announced that it had secured federal stimulus and state funds to widen Jones-Maltsberger. Presently, the street narrows from four lanes down to two at the tracks, then widens again back to four lanes on the other side. The improvements will consist of widening the road at the crossing to four lanes (two in each direction) plus a dedicated right-turn lane for traffic turning onto US 281 northbound.
According to the city, construction is set to start next February and be completed by the end of summer.
So what took so long to get this job done? My recollection is that there was some dispute between the city and TxDOT as to who was responsible for that section of roadway, not to mention the fact that any work involving a railroad crossing also has to include the railroad. Ergo, it took a while to get it all sorted-out. Then it was simply a matter of securing the funding, which is typically the sticking-point on most road projects.
UPDATE 1/8/10: San Antonio Express-News story
Roads: construction FM 1957 pass-through financing Potranco SH 211 widening
leave a comment
If your commute involves Potranco Rd. (FM 1957) outside Loop 1604, then I have the proverbial good news and bad news for you. The good news is that the Texas Transportation Commission approved a pass-through financing agreement with Bexar County last week that will allow the county to fund and manage the widening of Potranco from two to four lanes between Loop 1604 and SH 211 in far western Bexar County. This agreement will allow the expansion work to get done much, much sooner than if it had to wait its turn for “traditional” (read: gas tax) funding, which is growing more scarce every year. After the project is completed, TxDOT will reimburse the county for about 65% of the costs on a prorated basis over several years. The Potranco widening is lumped-in with another much-needed project: the completion (finally) of SH 211. I hear that developers in the area are picking-up the remainder of the tab on the two projects.
The bad news? It looks like work won’t start for about two years as Bexar County finalizes the plans for the two projects. So relief is still a few years away, but at least the ball has started rolling.