Ballenger projects starting back up

After the bankruptcy of Ballenger Construction late last year, several TxDOT and COSA projects were lain dormant.  The good news is that their bonding company is nearing the end of the process to hire new contractors to get those projects finished.  Work should be starting next month again on the I-10 project (Ramsgate to Loop 1604) and the “bookends” of the Wurzbach Parkway project.  I’m not as familiar with the COSA projects, but I hear the Hunt Lane project should also have a new contractor by this time next month.

31 Aug 2011, 9:35pm
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Final section of Wurzbach Parkway officially breaks ground

Wurzbach Pkwy groundbreaking

It’s been 30 years in the making.  Today, local officials gathered at Walker Ranch Park to officially break ground on the final section of the Wurzbach Parkway.  The segment, from West Ave. to Jones-Maltsberger, is actually already under construction, along with the two adjacent segments.  When they’re completed in 2014, the long-awaited east-west thoroughfare will finally be complete.

Speaking at today’s groundbreaking were the Wolffs (Nelson and Kevin), Lyle Larson, local TxDOT district engineer Mario Medina, and TxDOT’s new interim executive director John Barton.  Somewhat surprisingly, there was little media coverage of the event; only KABB and KTSA had stories on it.

For more information about the three current projects, see my site here:
Texas Highway Man – Wurzbach Parkway

Construction starting next week on Wurzbach Pkwy

Wurzbach Pkwy construction phases

TxDOT announced today that work will start next week on the first of three phases to finally complete the Wurzbach Parkway.  Crews will begin November 1st on the section from Wetmore to Jones-Maltsberger, with completion expected in early 2014.  A month later, on December 1st, work is scheduled to begin on the segment from Blanco Rd. to West Ave.  That section should be done about a year sooner, in early 2013.

That leaves the final section from West Ave. to Jones-Maltsberger.  That stretch is scheduled to go to bid in May of next year.

All three sections will feature a four-lane divided parkway similar to that already in-place east of Wetmore.  Despite earlier uncertainty over costs, it appears now that the projects will include overpasses at Blanco, West Ave., US 281, Jones-Maltsberger, and Starcrest.  However, there still are no plans at this time for a full interchange at US 281.

The total cost of all three segments is expected to be around $130 million and is being funded with Proposition 12 funds approved by the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) about a year ago.  Officials had originally hoped to get federal stimulus funds for the project, but when that didn’t materialize, the TTC took advantage of new Prop 12 funds authorized by the Legislature.  The Wurzbach project was the largest single Prop 12 project approved last year.

The man who doesn’t get it

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “the man who gets it”, that man being state Senator John Carona of Dallas, who understands our current transportation funding crisis enough to risk political suicide by suggesting an increase in the state’s gas tax to fix it (the correct solution in my not-so-humble opinion.)  Today, I’m going to write about the person who has shown once again to be deserving of the title of “the man who just doesn’t get it”: Tommy Adkisson, the current chairman of the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) policy board.

As you may recall, Adkisson was the official instigator of a vote in October to drop the toll option from the MPO’s plans regarding future US 281 and Loop 1604 projects.  That proposal went down in flames when the MPO board voted 13-5 against it, mainly because it had no objective engineering study to support it, something even an amateur elected official would realize is essential to substantiate your case.  Even the San Antonio Express-News editorial board labeled his actions “erratic and ill-considered”.  I, however, was willing to let Tommy off the hook for this boondoggle since it was obvious that outspoken toll opponent Terri Hall was the real culprit pulling the strings behind the scenes and I believed he just didn’t understand what he was getting himself into.  His declaration after the vote that he was done with toll road issues and wanted to move on to more substantive discussions, such as mass transit, also led me to believe that he was sincerely jaded on the whole 281 debacle.

But obviously not.

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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.

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