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San Antonio Area Freeway System
PROJECT INFO: Loop 410-US 281-San Pedro and vicinity

This page last updated October 28, 2020

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Project locationLocation
  • Loop 410 from West Ave. to Broadway
  • US 281 from Nakoma Dr. to Jones-Maltsberger (North)

Status
Advanced planning (see timeline below.)

Description
Sometimes, things work out better on paper than in practice. Loop 410 between US 281 and NW Military is one of those cases. Designed and built as part of the massive project to widen Loop 410 from six to 10 lanes across the North Side during the first decade of this millennium, some operational issues have become evident over the years mainly due to entrance and exit ramp locations. To be fair, this is a difficult area to work with-- in less than 2.5 miles, there are six intersecting thoroughfares plus flyovers to/from US 281 all crammed together in an area where the frontage is heavily developed along the busiest stretch of freeway in Texas outside of Houston. So getting everything to work optimally out of the gate was a heavy lift.

With the traffic patterns and issues in the area now stable and well-understood, engineers have been able to better model several possible tweaks and fixes and have settled on a package of improvements that should iron-out most of the pain points in the area as well as accommodate changes that have occurred since the work in this area was completed a dozen or so years ago. Planners also looked a little further afield and will make some adjustments along US 281 north of Loop 410 to help streamline some kinks there as well.

Below are descriptions of the planned changes broken-out by segments. As you read through, you will see how many of the changes in one segment are related to changes being made in adjacent segments. A snippet of the schematic for each segment is provided; click on the image to show a larger view. The full schematics are available at the bottom of this page.

LOOP 410
Airport to Jones-Maltsberger

The current entrance ramp from Airport Blvd. will be moved east to beneath US 281. This is being done to increase the weaving area between that entrance and the McCullough exit. This relocation does mean that traffic coming from the southbound US 281 access road wanting to enter Loop 410 westbound will have to use the next entrance ramp, which will be past San Pedro.

Jones-Maltsberger to McCullough
The westbound exit ramp to McCullough will be expanded to two lanes and become the exit ramp for McCullough, San Pedro, and Blanco. This will require part of the flyover from US 281 to be rebuilt in order to move the support columns. The westbound access road will be expanded to four lanes from that exit ramp to McCullough. On the eastbound side, one more lane will be added to the access road between McCullough and Jones-Maltsberger. Both of these access road expansions will require additional right-of-way.

Big changes will happen at McCullough. The existing overpass will be reconfigured to allow only for southbound traffic turning left from the westbound access road. Traffic on McCullough wanting to go south over the overpass will instead have to turn right onto the westbound access road, then take the turnaround at San Pedro to return to McCullough. There will be no northbound McCullough traffic at all on that overpass, so traffic heading north on McCullough will have to turn right onto the access road and then take the turnaround at Jones-Maltsberger to return to McCullough. To help facilitate this, there will be a double right turn lane on northbound McCullough and the expanded access road between McCullough and Jones-Maltsberger. Traffic on the eastbound access road wanting to turn left onto northbound McCullough will instead have to go down to the Jones-Maltsberger turnaround and come back to McCullough. This configuration is essentially a "superstreet" intersection minus one of the left turns. The turnarounds in both directions will remain.

The reason for this change at McCullough is to allow westbound traffic on the access road to flow through the McCullough intersection unimpeded as it will now be carrying traffic from Loop 410 headed to San Pedro and Blanco. Blocking the McCullough through traffic from that overpass means that the westbound access road traffic will no longer have to stop for cross traffic; instead, the signal that remains there will only be for the pedestrian crossing. These changes will also significantly shorten the red time for the eastbound access road (more on why this is important in the next section.)



McCullough to San Pedro

On the westbound Loop 410 mainlanes, a barrier will be installed separating the lanes coming from US 281 from the Loop 410 through lanes. This barrier will extend to just past the current San Pedro exit. That exit will then only be accessible to traffic coming from US 281. This will prevent the weaving of traffic there that is the cause of the recurring congestion on the US 281 flyovers. The lanes from US 281 will then join the Loop 410 mainlanes just past the San Pedro exit.

On the westbound access road, an extra lane will be added between McCullough and San Pedro and a right-turn lane will be added at the entrance to Chick-Fil-A. The westbound entrance ramp just west of McCullough will be removed; this is being done to eliminate the extra inflow of traffic between the incoming US 281 lanes and the entrance from San Pedro.

On the eastbound access road, the entrance to eastbound Loop 410 between San Pedro and McCullough will be removed. This is to eliminate the weaving and conflicts with the exit to US 281. Traffic coming from San Pedro wanting to get onto eastbound Loop 410 will continue on the access road and enter Loop 410 between McCullough and Jones-Maltsberger. The shorter red time at the McCullough intersection as mentioned above will help reduce delays for that traffic.


San Pedro to Blanco

The southbound right turn on San Pedro to the westbound access road will be expanded to two lanes, but the far right lane will be designated only for traffic wanting to go to Blanco Rd.; that lane will be separated by a concrete island from the rest of the access road lanes until it is past the entrance to westbound Loop 410, which itself will be moved east a bit.
The concrete island will ensure that Blanco-destined traffic does not interfere with traffic trying to enter Loop 410. The entrance ramp is being moved to increase the weave distance between it and the exit to NW Military and to eliminate the weaving caused by traffic trying to merge over from the bypass overpass. Traffic coming from that overpass wanting to get on westbound Loop 410 will instead have to go through the Blanco intersection and enter 410 near NW Military. The westbound access road at Blanco will be expanded to three through lanes. 

On the eastbound side, the exit to San Pedro will be removed and moved further back (more on that in the next section.) Traffic coming from that new exit will fly over the access road and then have a fork to either exit to San Pedro or go onto the bypass overpass over San Pedro to McCullough. The driveway from Park North closest to San Pedro will be restricted to only entering the bypass overpass over San Pedro; this is to eliminate traffic shooting across the access road to get to San Pedro.

The eastbound access road coming from Blanco will not be able to get onto the bypass overpass over San Pedro. Any traffic on that access road wanting to continue east to McCullough will have to go through the San Pedro intersection. This is being done to eliminate the dangerous weaving approaching San Pedro. At San Pedro, there will be three left turn lanes.

The eastbound entrance ramp to Loop 410 just east of Blanco will remain but its location will be slightly adjusted. 


Blanco to Honeysuckle

On westbound Loop 410, the existing entrance from Blanco will be shifted west and will fly over the exit to Honeysuckle, which itself will be moved slightly further east and also become the exit for West Ave. and Jackson Keller. (More on that in the following section.) The flyover to NW Military will have to be rebuilt to accommodate these changes and to move it slightly west to increase the weaving distance between it and the upstream entrance from San Pedro.

The southbound ramp from NW Military onto the westbound access road will be pulled in closer to NW Military and become a sharper turn. This is being done to improve sight distance and eliminate a double merge (right and left side) where the exit ramp to Honeysuckle merges with the access road.

On the eastbound side, the existing exit to NW Military and Blanco will become just the exit for Blanco and will fly over the access road ramp to NW Military and then merge onto the access road. (NW Military traffic will exit further west.) The access road will be straightened between Oak Royal and Blanco. The ramp from NW Military to the access road will be eliminated, i.e. traffic coming from NW Military will have to enter eastbound Loop 410. This was necessary to avoid conflicting with the new flyover exit for Blanco. Traffic coming from NW Military wanting to get to Blanco should instead use the westbound access road and then take the turnaround at Honeysuckle.

At the intersection of NW Military and the eastbound Loop 410 access road, through traffic on the access road headed to Loop 410 will have a dedicated bypass lane separated from the rest of the intersection by a concrete island; this will allow them to continue through the intersection without stopping.

On eastbound Loop 410, a new two-lane exit for San Pedro will depart from the mainlanes beneath the NW Military overpass and will ascend onto a flyover that will go over the entrance from NW Military, pass over Blanco, shift to the right over the access road, and descend before reaching San Pedro. From there, traffic can reach San Pedro or the bypass overpass to continue to McCullough as discussed above.


Honeysuckle to West Ave.

The westbound exit to West Ave. and Jackson Keller will be removed. That traffic will exit further back at the Honeysuckle exit. This was done to eliminate the weaving between that ramp and the upstream entrance from Blanco. The existing entrance ramp from Honeysuckle/NW Military will remain.

The eastbound entrance from West Ave. and Jackson Keller will be removed and replaced with an exit for Honeysuckle and NW Military. This is being done to eliminate the weaving between that former entrance and the exit to Blanco and to reduce the number of intersections traffic exiting for NW Military would have to traverse. Traffic from West Ave. and Jackson Keller wanting to get on eastbound Loop 410 will proceed through the Honeysuckle and NW Military intersections (the latter of which will have a bypass lane as mentioned above.)

Engineers wanted to close the Honeysuckle underpass to all traffic except emergency vehicles in order to eliminate the signals on the access roads, but the City of Castle Hills nixed that. However, traffic on Honeysuckle is fairly light, so the signals can be timed to reduce delays on the access roads.

US 281
Southbound Nakoma to Isom

The southbound exit for San Pedro will be moved further north to just south of Nakoma and feed into a new a collector-distributor (C/D) road that will be built on the southbound side between Nakoma and San Pedro. This roadway will sit between the access road and mainlanes and will collect the traffic exiting for San Pedro and entering from Nakoma. Just past Rhapsody will be an entrance ramp to southbound US 281. The other lanes will then continue onto San Pedro. The C/D road will allow the traffic entering from Nakoma and exiting to San Pedro to weave on its own roadway separated from both the mainlanes and access road. This is safer and helps to prevent congestion on the mainlanes caused by weaving. A portion of the Rhapsody overpass will have to be rebuilt to accommodate the C/D road


Northbound Jones-Maltsberger to Isom
The two lanes on the flyover from Loop 410 will continue onto US 281. The Jones-Maltsberger entrance ramp will be removed to eliminate the conflict with traffic coming from Loop 410. Traffic from Jones-Maltsberger wanting to get onto US 281 northbound will continue to the entrance ramp at Isom.
On the northbound access road at Isom, a second through lane will be provided.


How this project will help

All of these improvements are designed to streamline traffic flow in these areas, mainly by eliminating the weaving near ramps or providing additional space for the weaving that must remain. The rationale for each element of the improvements is discussed in the corresponding section above.

Timeline
This project is currently scheduled to start in late 2022.

FAQ

  • Why didn't they get this right the first time?
    As explained above, that stretch of Loop 410
    is a very difficult area to work with-- in less than 2.5 miles, there are six intersecting thoroughfares plus flyovers to/from US 281 all crammed together in an area where the frontage is heavily developed along the busiest stretch of freeway in Texas outside of Houston. Trying to get all those moving parts to fit together perfectly is an extraordinarily difficult task. Nearly all complex projects (construction or otherwise) require some tweaking and adjustments after initial completion, and this is no different.

Schematics
Below are the detailed schematics for this project from TxDOT with my own annotations added to help clarify and explain the various elements. Click on an image below to open the schematic in a new window that you can scroll and zoom. .


LOOP 410



US 281







Other sites of interest
TxDOT - I-410 at US 281/San Pedro Avenue Operational Improvements
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/san-antonio/101320.html
Loop 410 visualization
https://youtu.be/gBv7kHxVXig
US 281 visualization
https://youtu.be/H6UOqUVeCyM




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This page and all its contents are Copyright 2019 by Brian Purcell

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The information provided on this website is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind either express or implied.  The author and his agents make no warranties or representations of any kind concerning any information contained in this website.  This website is provided only as general information.  The author expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based upon the information contained herein or with respect to any errors or omissions in such information.  All opinions expressed are strictly those of the author.  This site is not affiliated in any way with any official agency.