13 Jan 2010, 10:13pm
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TxDOT previews planned I-10 improvements

I-10 inbound at UTSA Blvd.

I-10 inbound at UTSA Blvd.

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.

First of all, there will actually be a fifth lane added to the inbound side from Loop 1604 down to the Huebner exit.  This means that traffic entering I-10 from 1604 will have all the way to Huebner to merge over if necessary, and in fact one of the two lanes added at 1604 (the one that drops at the DeZavala exit now, seen in the photo above) will continue through all the way to downtown.  This will greatly smooth inbound traffic.

As mentioned,¬†the existing exit to DeZavala on the outbound side will be removed and the existing Woodstone exit will be widened to two lanes and will become the DeZavala exit.¬† The existing entrance from Huebner will also be removed and the existing entrance from Fredericksburg (the one at the top of the hill in front of Chili’s) will become the entrance for both Huebner and Fred.¬† An extra lane will be added to the frontage road, making for smoother merging and transitions there.¬† These changes will eliminate several bad problems: the dangerous weaving that takes place¬†on the frontage road at the current DeZavala exit and the equally dangerous and congestion-inducing weaving that takes place on the freeway lanes at the existing entrance from Huebner.

On the outbound freeway lanes, the four lanes that currently exist north of Wurzbach will be extended all the way to Loop 1604 instead of dropping down to three at the DeZavala exit as is the case today.  At Loop 1604, the right lane will exit to 1604 along with the auxiliary lane added from the entrance from UTSA Blvd.  This will eliminate that afternoon rush-hour bottleneck.

In addition to the lane and ramp changes mentioned above, this project will also add the “missing” turnaround at UTSA Blvd., will raise the I-10 overpass over DeZavala (it’s been hit several times), will replace one of the bridge decks on I-10 at Fredericksburg to resolve a long-standing maintenance issue, and repave the whole stretch of I-10 (also long overdue.)

This project, which is estimated will cost $40 million, does not have any funding yet.  However, TxDOT is updating its plans and environmental documents so that this project is ready to go if funding should become available.  Just like with the recent Wurzbach Parkway project, which was able to take advantage of newly-available Prop 12 funds because TxDOT kept their ducks in a row on that project, officials want to make sure that this long-proposed and badly-needed project is ready to get either additional Prop 12 funds, which could become available later this year or next, or be in line to receive any stimulus funds that may be leftover as a result of cost underruns or if any projects fail to make the deadline for those funds (March 2010).  My gut-feeling is that this project will be funded by this fall.

And, the question that seems to be first on everyone’s minds: this will not be a toll project.

UPDATE: San Antonio Express-News story


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