UTSA Boulevard Project to install new turn, bike lanes, to alleviate traffic

UTSA Boulevard Project to install new turn, bike lanes, to alleviate traffic

Johnee Jasso

Last week, Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI) met with both curious and concerned citizens at Carnahan Elementary School to discuss the City of San Antonio’s UTSA Boulevard Project. Capital Projects Manager David McBeth addressed the planned improvements, the impact on local residents and the project schedule.

One of the main concerns raised at the meeting was about the medians to be installed on UTSA Boulevard.

The medians will force drivers coming from UTSA, apartments, housing communities and businesses to turn right onto UTSA Boulevard – the only areas to turn left will be the intersections, which could be problematic for drivers outside of the Breckenridge Avenue Lot 5 and Maverick Creek housing.

UTSA students are likely aware of the construction. The Hausman Road Project is still currently underway to reconstruct the roadway to four lanes from 1604 to I-10 and construct a 10-foot concrete hike and bike trail on the south side of the roadway. Hausman Road has been under construction since December 2013.

Construction began on UTSA Boulevard in July 2015 and is currently between Edward Ximenes Avenue and I-10.

The UTSA Boulevard Project will extend the construction from Edward Ximenes Avenue to Babcock Road. The project will be split into two phases: Babcock Road to Edward Ximenes (South side, approximately seven months) and Babcock Road to Edward Ximenes (North Side, approximately 12 months).

The project will extend the roadway to four lanes – two each way to include a raised median with left turn lanes. The project includes new concrete 10-foot shared use path and drive approaches on each side, with new American Disability Act wheelchair ramps at all intersections, approved for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The intersections at UTSA Boulevard/Babcock and Roadrunner Way/George Breckenridge will have new traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalk markings. Additionally, the project will install underground storm drainage with street inlets.

During the meeting, a UTSA faculty member pointed out the difficulty for emergency vehicles to access emergency hotspots, such as University Oaks. The fire department, for example, is located on Babcock Road, and it seems with the construction, nearly impossible for a fire truck to make a U-turn around a median.

“The widened lanes will allow emergency vehicles enough space to make a U-turn around the medians, if need be,” McBeth responded, and speculated possibly shifting the entrance to Breckenridge Avenue Lot 5 parking directly across from Maverick Creek housing, allowing a left turn.

Construction on Hausman Road is anticipated to complete in April 2016.

The UTSA Boulevard Project is estimated to be complete in October 2017.