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

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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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 WayРthose 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.

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.

Work wrapping up at the Quarry, starting on De Zavala

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.

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.

‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt have far to go,” TxDOT engineer¬†Randy Grones¬†assured. “The completion date is right around the corner.”

To check the latest San Antonio traffic:

30 Jun 2010, 10:18pm
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Comments Off on Hurricane Alex delivers blow

Hurricane Alex delivers blow

Weather radar

Latest radar from National Weather Service.

Hurricane Alex is grinding into a Mexican coast, its tails whipping South Texas and spitting out tornadoes. Winds are blowing more than 100 mph.

Though the brunt of the storm wandered south, it was powerful enough to drive both Texans and Mexicans away from their homes to find safer shelter, the Associated Press reported. A slew of tornado, flooding and wind warnings are in place in South Texas, including a flood watch in Bexar County, the National Weather Service says.

Officials closed the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge in South Padre Island due to winds and State Highway 87 in Galveston because of flooding, the Texas Department of Transportation announced. More than 100 TxDOT workers and 200 pieces of equipment will move in tomorrow to open roads and fix traffic signals and signs.

Helpful links:

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.

Loop 1604 “super-street” previewed

1604ss_thumbLate last month, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority held a public meeting to show plans for a super-street and other related improvements on Loop 1604 West.¬† (My vacation started immediately after the meeting, thus the reason I’m just now getting around to writing this.)¬† At this time, the plans include super-street intersections at New Guilbeau and at Shaenfield and ancillary improvements at Braun and at SH 151 (with work on the former now underway.)¬† Here are the details of those planned improvements.

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