First super-street intersection to open Monday

After yesterday’s disheartening news about the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange, I have a bit of good news today.  Earlier this week, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) announced that the first intersection in the US 281 super-street project will be completed and open to traffic on Monday morning.

That intersection– at Encino Rio– will actually be different than the other intersections in the project in that traffic coming from Encino Rio will still be able to make the left turn onto 281.  In the other intersections (Evans, Stone Oak/TPC, and Marshall), traffic on those streets will have to turn right, then make a U-turn in order to turn left.  But at Encino Rio, since there’s very little traffic that makes the left turn onto Encino Rio from southbound 281 relative to traffic turning left from Encino Rio onto 281, it was decided to eliminate the left turns from 281 onto Encino Rio and into the Martin Marietta quarry and instead increase the left turn capacity from Encino Rio onto 281 southbound by adding a third left turn lane.  This combination of changes will provide the time-savings and signal phase reductions that will improve traffic flow on 281 itself.

However, this last dash to the finish line will have an appreciable pain factor– there will be major lane closures all weekend at Encino Rio as crews transform the intersection, finish the traffic signal installation, repave all the lanes, and mark them.  So I strongly advise everyone to avoid the area completely this weekend.

The remaining intersections will be completed in the same fashion one-at-a-time moving north (i.e. Evans is next) starting the weekend following Labor Day.  This means completion of the project, which is about a month behind schedule due to unusually heavy rains earlier this year, will be in late September.


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