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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 Roads & Freeways
Frequently Asked Questions

This page last updated October 8, 2017

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Below are some of the most common questions or complaints I get about San Antonio roads and freeways.


Specific projects
The following projects have FAQ sections on their own pages:

Road construction generally

TransGuide

HOV lanes

Loop 1604

Other
  • What was the first freeway built in San Antonio?
    The section of the lower level of I-10 (then just US 87) between Woodlawn and Culebra. It quietly opened in July 1949. (See the San Antonio Freeways History page for a complete history of the freeway system.)

  • What's the deal with SH 211? It's a road to nowhere and a waste of money.
    SH 211 was originally built in the late '80s to provide access to the now-defunct Texas Research Park. Because of its location, TxDOT planners knew that it would make an ideal location for a far west Bexar County beltline, an idea that had been around for decades. Like many projects, construction on SH 211 was split into several segments due to funding constraints. Unfortunately, due to issues with right-of-way acquisition, the missing middle segment has languished unfunded for years. However, in 2009, Bexar County agreed to build the missing segment and get reimbursed by the state over several years. See the SH 211 page for additional information.

  • Why doesn't TxDOT upgrade Bandera Rd. through Leon Valley?
    Since the late '80s, TxDOT has proposed various upgrades to Bandera in that area, including adding flyovers at major intersections and an elevated tollway, but the City of Leon Valley vetoed all of the plans on the belief that such upgrades would hurt local businesses by speeding traffic through the city (a serious fallacy in my opinion; congestion hurts businesses more than improved access would.) Fortunately, fresh leadership in recent years has resulted in a change to Leon Valley's official position and will hopefully result in much-needed improvements. Studies are underway now with construction possibly starting in 2022.

  • Why aren't traffic signals in San Antonio synchronized?
    Actually, most of them are. See the City of San Antonio's traffic signal management page for details. That said, if you're on a road and it doesn't seem like the signals are synchronized, here are some possible reasons why:
    • You're traveling faster than the speed limit. Signals are synchronized for to allow a group of cars (a "platoon") moving at the speed limit of the roadway. If you're speeding and get out ahead of the platoon, you'll hit the next signal when it's still red.
    • You're traveling significantly slower than the speed limit (either because you're lollygagging or due to traffic.) If you fall behind the platoon, you'll hit the next signal as it turns yellow or red.
    • The road you're on intersects with another road where signals are synchronized. If the synchronization on one roadway conflicts with that on the other, then one will have to yield to the other.
    • You're headed on the opposite direction of the timing. Sometimes, signals on a roadway are only timed for traffic headed in one direction (i.e. the direction with the heaviest flow of traffic.)
  • If I'm at a red light and nobody is coming on the intersecting road, why doesn't the light turn green for me right away?
    There are several reasons why this can happen:
    • If the intersecting road has synchronized traffic signals, then your signal will have to wait for scheduled gaps in that "green wave" before it can change. When signals are synchronized, the green times on that road are fixed and can't be preempted (except for emergency vehicles.)
    • The minimum green time on the intersecting roadway hasn't yet expired. Whenever a signal turns green, there is a set minimum amount of time it must stay green. This minimum length can be extended if there is a pedestrian crossing.




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This page and all its contents are Copyright 2017 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.