Large Loop 1604 expansion project could get approved by next month

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SAN ANTONIO – Driving Loop 1604 from Bandera Road to I-35 can be downright frustrating for San Antonio drivers but call to make Loop 1604 less aggravating is gathering statewide attention.

Local officials are optimistic the Texas Transportation Commission will greenlight the massive $880 million. The 10-lane expansion project at their August 29th meeting. At this time, $388 million has been assigned for what could possibly be a 22-mile makeover.

“I would say we’re all cautiously optimistic,” says Linda Vela, the planning and public involvement program manager of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“It’s one of the top most congested corridors in our state. Traffic on Loop 1604 has grown like 93 percent since the year 2000.”

San Antonio is also competing with other areas for funding, including both metro and rural. It is no doubt that all four major Texas cities have rush hour problems, but it appears that San Antonio motorists suffer the worse of it, regularly gridlocked on 1604.

“It’s still a competition and we have bad traffic, but so does Austin, so does Houston. so does Dallas,” Vela says. “We’re basically competing for funding against all of those different interests.”

If the Texas Transportation Commission approved the project, the next step would be assigning a start date. From there a priority system will determine several factors, such as the multi-year project will begin in 2020 or later on in the decade.

There are predictions that if 10 lanes are enough to handle the amount of traffic with the amount of growth and expansion in the city.

“The problem is we’re building projects today that were needed 10 years ago,” Vela says. “We live in the community,” Vela says of her colleagues who are trying to push the plan through, including Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff. “We’re stuck in the traffic too.”

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