Antonio Area Freeway System
Loop 1604 from Culebra to Potranco
page last updated July 6, 2019
1604 from Culebra Rd. to Potranco Rd.
Under construction (91% complete). All mainlanes have opened to traffic.
This project upgraded Loop
1604 at this location from a four-lane divided highway to a four-lane,
toll-free freeway. This included adding
overpasses at Wiseman Blvd., Military Dr. West, and Potranco Rd. (FM
1957), continuous access
and entrance and exit ramps. The discovery of a sensitive karst feature
along the western edge of the right-of-way
between Wiseman and Military necessitated a short bow in the
corridor. Otherwise, the expansion was completed by
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 previous divided highway
was originally designed to eventually be expanded to a freeway as
described above; this helped reduce costs, expedited the work a bit, and
minimized disruption to
cost of this project is $62.5 million and is being paid for with local
funds from the Advanced Transportation District as part of the larger
$825 five-year regional transportation plan announced in January 2014.
This project and an adjacent project extended the Loop 1604 freeway all the way to US 90.
project will help
Staggering ongoing growth in this area of
Antonio necessitated upgrading this
roadway. The new freeway
overpasses at the signalized intersections allows for
continuous free-flowing traffic through the corridor. The four freeway lanes are anticipated to handle the projected traffic in
this corridor for the next 20 years.
The official groundbreaking occurred on September 12, 2016.
Construction began in October 2016 and estimated completion is mid
for the latest status report on this project.
The southbound mainlanes opened on April 18, 2019. The northbound mainlanes opened on May 25, 2019.
- Why are the new sections of Loop 1604 only
four lanes? It needs to be six lanes or more.
lot of people see the congestion on Loop 1604 North and assert that
this stretch needs to be wider than four lanes (i.e. two lanes in each direction) to start with. However, this stretch of Loop 1604 carries less
than a third of the traffic that most sections of Loop 1604 North do
(34,000 vehicles per day at Potranco vs. 123,000 at Bandera.) That
current volume, and the projections for the next 20 years, indicate that four lanes should
be adequate. Twenty years is the accepted
planning horizon because 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), and because that's the length
of time that any projections can be considered even remotely
reasonable. Will this section experience congestion before 20 years? Maybe. Nobody has a crystal ball, so traffic
projections are "educated guesses" based on past growth
best data available for future development in an area. Furthermore,
road capacity is always theoretical-- many other factors other than
just the number of lanes affect congestion levels. But as a steward of taxpayer dollars, TxDOT cannot spend more than they can empirically justify, a policy I'm sure most
taxpayers support to prevent corruption. And spending now on extra lanes that may or may not be needed in
the future takes away funding for other projects that are needed today.
- Why is there a curve in the corridor between Kilmarnoch and Reed when it used to be straight?
sensitive karst feature with possible endangered species was discovered
within the right-of-way where the southbound mainlanes and access
road would have been. As a result, TxDOT had to mitigate the impact of
the road. The least expensive way to do that was to simply go around
it; this resulted in the bowing of the road at that location. (See the
schematic below for a view of the area in question.)
the image below to open the detailed schematic for this
project from TxDOT with my own annotations added to help clarify and
explain the various elements. The schematic will
open in a new window that you can scroll and zoom.
schematic is somewhat large and may take a few seconds to open.)
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