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[i] Information SAN ANTONIO FREEWAY HISTORY
Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series here. The full history of the freeway system is available on this site here.

San Antonio Area Freeway System
PROJECT INFO: Loop 1604 from Potranco to US 90

This page last updated December 4, 2017

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Project locationLocation: Loop 1604 from Potranco Rd. to US 90

Status: Under construction (23% complete)

Description
This project will upgrade Loop 1604 at this location from a four-lane divided highway to a four-lane, toll-free expressway. This includes adding
an underpass at Dove Canyon/Falcoln Wolf, expanding the existing overpass at Marbach, and adding continuous access roads and entrance and exit ramps. The expansion will be completed by converting the existing northbound lanes to the northbound access road, converting the existing southbound lanes to northbound expressway lanes, and constructing the remaining lanes (southbound expressway and access road.) Unbeknownst to most motorists, the existing divided highway was orignially designed to eventually be expanded to an expressway as described above; this will expedite the work a bit, reduce the project's cost, and minimize disruption to traffic.

This project will also build a direct connector flyover from SB Loop 1604 to EB US 90 and the existing cloverleaf ramp from SB Loop 1604 to EB US 90 will be removed. The existing signalized intersections at US 90 will remain, but a second overpass for Loop 1604 over US 90 will be built-- that new overpass will become the northbound lanes and the existing overpass will used for the southbound lanes. The divided highway will then end just south of US 90 and merge into the existing two-lane road.

The cost of this project is $64.1 million and is being paid for with local funds from the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority as part of the larger $825 five-year regional transportation plan announced in January 2014.

A separate project on US 90 is converting the US 90 access roads to one-way and building a turnaround from WB to EB US 90 at Loop 1604, which should remove an appreciable amount of traffic from the intersections at Loop 1604.

How this project will help
Staggering ongoing growth in this area of San Antonio necessitates upgrading this roadway. The new expressway lanes with overpasses at the currently signalized intersections will allow for continuous free-flowing traffic through the corridor. The four expressway lanes are anticipated to handle the projected traffic in this corridor for the next 20 years. The connector to US 90 will remove that traffic from the remaining signalized intersections at US 90. 

Timeline: Construction began in early 2017 and is scheduled to be complete in early 2020.  Click here for the latest status.

FAQ:

  • Why was the crossover at Emory Peak removed? Nobody told us when we moved here it would be removed someday.
    It was always planned for that crossover to be temporary and be removed when Loop 1604 was expanded. The developer of the Laurel Mountain Ranch subdivision was aware of this and was obligated to inform buyers.

  • There's already a crossover at Emory Peak. Why close it and add a new crossover at Falcon Wolf/Dove Canyon where there isn't one today?
    In a freeway corridor, one mile is generally considered to be the ideal interval for crossovers. When crossovers are closer than that, it complicates entrance and exit ramp placement and shortens weaving areas or forces some traffic to traverse an additional signalized intersection, all of which decreases safety and increases congestion. Emory Peak is located just 1/2 mile from Marbach whereas Falcon Wolf/Dove Canyon is located at just about one mile from Marbach and a little over one mile from Potranco; in other words, it's more ideally located for a crossover. Furthermore, the 
    Falcon Wolf/Dove Canyon location connects a roadway on both sides of Loop 1604, also a more ideal situation. Were it not for the steep elevation differences there, a crossover would have been built there many years ago. Finally, it is envisioned that Falcon Wolf will eventually extend to Marbach (and does now via Big Wolf Creek) and Dove Canyon will eventually extend to Grosenbacher via American Lotus, thus making this a future east-west thoroughfare crossing.

  • Why are the new sections of Loop 1604 only four lanes? It needs to be six lanes or more.
    The number of lanes for a new roadway is based on current and projected traffic volumes for the next 20 years. Twenty years is the accepted planning horizon for a couple of reasons. First, that's the length of time before a road will need major repairs and upgrades simply due to age (i.e. the road's expected lifespan). Second, that length of time is the longest that any projections can be considered even remotely reasonable. Since nobody has a crystal ball, traffic projections are "educated guesses" based on the best data available for future development in an area and past growth. Roads are then planned based on those projections. In the case of the new segments of Loop 1604, those projections show that four lanes will be adequate for the 20 years. TxDOT, as a steward of taxpayer dollars, cannot spend more than they can justify, a policy I'm sure most taxpayers support, especially with all the other needs that need to be funded.

Schematics
Below are cross sections and full schematics for this project. The schematics are divided into the northern and southern sections; click on the section to see an annotated overview schematic of each segment of this project. These plans are courtesy of TxDOT and are subject to change. Annotations are my own.



 (Note: The schematics below are somewhat large and may take a few seconds to open.)

 


Other sites of interest
TxDOT - Loop 1604 from US 90 to FM 1957 (Potranco Road)
http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/san-antonio/loop-1604-us-90-fm-1957.html




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This page and all its contents are Copyright 2017 by Brian Purcell

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