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PROJECT INFO: US 281 Comal County Expansion

This page last updated January 31, 2024

Engineer

This project is currently in design


The project below is still in design. Descriptions below are based on preliminary schematics released on May 19th, 2021 and, as a result, details may change before the project goes to construction. This page will be updated when future schematics for this project are available.


Location
  • US 281 from the Bexar county line to SH 46

Status
  • Advanced planning

Timeline
  • This project is currently unfunded and therefore has no timeline.


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On this page:


Project description and background

History and previous plans
The overpass at SH 46 was built in 1978 in conjunction with widening this stretch of US 281 from a two lane road to the current four lane divided highway. The overpass at FM 1863 was built in 1999.

In 2000, TxDOT announced plans to upgrade US 281 in Bexar County to a non-tolled, six-lane freeway from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Pkwy., and to build a standalone overpass at Borgfeld Dr., with long-term plans to upgrade 281 to a full freeway in phases all the way to FM 306 at the Comal/Blanco county line. However, due to rapid worldwide construction cost increases that developed suddenly around 2003 that resulted in funding shortages for planned highway projects, the state required new freeway projects to use tolls where possible, so the 281 expansion project from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak was changed to include tolled mainlanes and was extended from Stone Oak Pkwy. to Borgfeld Dr. This sparked a decade-long battle with toll road opponents that delayed the project multiple times. With additional traditional funding becoming available in the mid 2010s, that project finally got underway in 2017 as a non-toll project and was completed in phases between 2021 and 2023.

History and previous plans
With growth in southern Comal County booming, and with the recent completion of the 281 expansion in Bexar County, this stretch of US 281 will see increased traffic and congestion over the coming decade. To handle that projected traffic and improve safety, TxDOT is currently planning to upgrade this stretch of 281 from a four-lane divided highway to a four-lane freeway. This project will dovetail with the recently completed freeway in Bexar County, thereby providing a continuous freeway corridor from SH 46 all the way to downtown San Antonio. A future project is envisioned to extend the freeway even further north to FM 306.

Current plans
This project proposes to do the following:

Additional right-of-way will be required, much like the expansion in Bexar County did. However, the new center median will be designed to be wide enough to accommodate future widenings or other transportation improvements without having to expand the footprint further.

EXISTING CROSS-SECTION BETWEEN
BEXAR COUNTY LINE AND SH 46


Existing US 281 cross-section
FUTURE CROSS-SECTION BETWEEN
BEXAR COUNTY LINE AND SH 46


Future US 281 cross-section

The number of access road lanes varies depending on location; most locations will have three access road lanes in each direction. Diagrams are for illustrative purposes only and are not to scale.


FAQ


Schematic

Click on 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.

Note that this schematic is preliminary and subject to change.


Schematic thumbnail

Click the image above for a full-sized schematic of this project


Video

TxDOT has a good video that describes this project:





Other sites of interest

TxDOT - US 281 South Comal County
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/san-antonio/us-281-south-comal-county.html