Loop 1604 expansion raising safety questions by nearby homeowners

Loop 1604 expansion raising safety concerns

SAN ANTONIO -- In just four years, Loop 1604 should look and feel much different out on the far west side.

There will be fewer slowdowns, no stoplights and entirely new stretches of the expressway.

That is welcome news to many drivers, but the project is also bringing safety concerns from the people who live in that area.

"When we're all done, you're going to have four expressway lanes. Two in each direction with overpasses and frontage roads," said Josh Donat, Public Information Officer of the Texas Department of Transportation.

One YouTube video shows what 1604 between Potranco and Highway 90 will look like when the extension is complete, with overpasses at Marbach, Dove Canyon, Falcon Wolf and Potranco.

"If you're going through and headed to 90, or wherever it is you're headed, you won't have to be stopping at those traffic signals anymore," Donat said.

Right now, drivers navigate a four-lane divided highway with stoplights at major intersections. One of them is at Emory Peak, at the entrance of the Laurel Mountain Ranch subdivision.

Susan Markey was one of the multiple viewers to contact KENS 5 with concerns over the new project.

"We came here with the knowledge that we had this light for protection," Markey said. "We are now losing that light and we are also losing the protection of oncoming traffic when trying to exit."

With the new expressway, the stoplight at Emory Peak will be removed sometime between 2017 and 2020.

Drivers exiting Laurel Mountain Ranch will no longer be able to turn left to go north on 1604. They will only be able to turn right on the frontage road out of the subdivision.

That concerns homeowners in Laurel Mountain Ranch.

"We are just going to be hit hard with accidents at that entrance," Markey said. "The children are entering this school district or this school from this entrance and exiting on a daily basis. Our concerns are for them."

In an e-mail to KENS 5, Matthew Carrera wrote, "With the expansion and changes being proposed, this crossover and light are being taken out, and the safe ease and access to the neighborhood is being threatened...Emory Peak is the primary access point located along 1604 and the proposed changes take this safe gateway and access away. We are very worried due to the increased school bus traffic we see in the area, along with the endless stream of parents and cars dropping off children at the school. To take the existing crossover and protected light away, endangers all."

Jennifer Tetreault wrote, "As it is now, the amount of accidents here with the protected light is still high, with so many residents, nonresidents, school and activity buses coming into this subdivision is extremely high. I think that people need to be aware that losing this light will cause more harm than good in the long run."

TxDOT said once completed, traffic flow near the intersection will decrease dramatically.

"The reality is that you're also losing 70 to 80% of the traffic volume that they're dealing with on 1604," said Donat. "They're not going to be trying to cut over lanes to try and hit northbound 1604."

Until the project is complete, TxDOT said the light will stand.

"So they're really going to be looking at a much safer situation when we're all done," Donat said.

For more information on the Loop 1604 expansion, visit http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/san-antonio/loop-1604-us-90-fm-1957.html


(© 2016 KENS)


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