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Years-long project expected to bring 'overdue' relief for drivers along 281 North

The total amount of lanes on the roadway will go from four to 10. But it won't be completed anytime soon.

SAN ANTONIO — If 281 North is your go-to route, get ready for a new phase of major disruptions.

On Friday morning, officials with the Texas Department of Transportation held a groundbreaking for the latest four-mile stretch of improvements to the area between Loop 1604 and the Comal County Line. While officials say there are 140 TxDOT construction zones in the region, this area is by far the most congested.

Transportation officials say help is on the way for drivers, but it will take a while to arrive.

“Look at all the folks that are in this line, and this is not primetime,” said Texas Transportation Chair Bruce Bugg, referring to long lines of traffic. “We’re going to get relief to these folks that is way overdue.”

All the speakers at the groundbreaking repeated the same promise that the new lanes won’t require tolls, thanks to a pair of voter-approved funding propositions.

The additions to 281 North will include two new lanes going northbound, two going southbound and two for high-occupancy vehicles. In all, the roadway is growing from four lanes to 10.

“We’re going to basically open up the taps, and this is a half-a-billion-dollar project,” Bugg said.

TxDOT says safety will have to be a priority for everyone during construction.

“Be on the lookout for workers. Follow the signs,” said Mario Jorge, a district engineer with TxDOT. “But most of all, reduce speed.”

Some other tips: Put your phone down, turn your radio off, pay attention to the road and also to the conditions, because they change on a nightly basis.

The project is expected to finish in 2022, with officials saying they plan to work hard to finish on time.

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