REOC San Antonio
Commercial Real Estate Since 1974   
Kim Gatley
enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC San Antonio

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Super Solution for US 281

US 281 signThe daily gridlock along the US 281 corridor continues to infuriate commuters but thankfully some relief is in sight.  As it stands now, the bottom line of a long and complicated history is that no federal funds will be made available to add capacity to the corridor without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required by the Federal Highway Administration.  The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) ambitiously hopes to have this study completed by 2012, as reported in Agency ‘aggressive’ on review for highway (San Antonio Express-News, 8-23-09).  Fortunately, commuters don’t have to wait that long.

Upon completion, the EIS will determine the best and most environmentally friendly way to address congestion along the stretch of highway between Loop 1604 and the Comal County line.  All alternatives will be considered including the proposed expansion featuring overpasses and frontage roads along with the highly debated plan to make six toll expressway lanes.

In the meantime, as the Alamo RMA continues to work towards a permanent solution, Pape-Dawson Engineering stepped forward with an unsolicited proposal to convert US 281 into a “Superstreet” from Encino Rio to Marshall Road which offers a short term fix to reduce congestion and improve safety.  Click to view the Alamo RMA presentation of the Superstreet plan.  The plan calls for the redesign of several intersections including Encino Rio, Evans, Stone Oak and Marshall Road essentially eliminating left turns and straight-thrus in lieu of right turns and U-turns.  Compare the current configuration to the proposed Superstreet configuration at Watch a video of News 4 WOAI reporting that the plan has been approved and funded.  It will cost approximately $10 million to implement – only a fraction of the estimated $450 million needed for the more significant long-term upgrade.   The US 281 Superstreet will be the first of its kind in Texas, although it has been successfully implemented in other parts of the country.    Look for construction of the Superstreet to begin late 2009 and expect it to last for approximately nine months.


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