Starting Friday at 9 p.m., Interstate 35 between Rittiman Road and George Beach Avenue near Loop 410 will be closed in both directions for four days while a bridge is demolished.
On Saturday night, the highway will reopen between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to allow traffic access to the AT&T Center for the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“We are taking a Spurs break – because this is San Antonio,” Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Josh Donat said.
After the shutdown resumes Saturday night, all lanes are set to reopen Monday at 5 a.m., according to TxDOT.
TxDOT crews will be demolishing an old bridge in order to relocate the southbound exit ramp to southbound Loop 410 from the left to the right side of the interstate. The left-hand exit had caused accidents and congestion as trucks heading south on I-35 were forced to cross over four lanes within a quarter-mile stretch to get to Loop 410, Donat said.
“As you can imagine, traffic was absolutely horrible,” he said.
The right-hand side exit ramp has been completed for two years, and “a year and half ago, we were able to move traffic over.
“Doing that helped tremendously, because now that truck traffic coming from Rittiman Road stays on the frontage road and jumps onto the ramp,” Donat added. “We’re now moving traffic from southbound I-35 to southbound 410 onto that new bridge this weekend.”
The closures will make for “a rough weekend,” Donat said. While the detour on I-35 south itself will be “super easy,” three to four lanes will be cut down to one, so drivers should expect significant delays and congestion.
Heading north will be “more convoluted,” but TxDOT will have officers posted to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. “It’s going to suck” for a few days, Donat said.
The $74.5 million project is the result of an analysis by the Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that moving the exit would reduce risk levels and commute times, and, therefore, contributed $20 million to the overhaul, according to Donat.
A state grant TxDOT received in 2012 covered the remainder of the cost. Donat anticipates the project, which began in November 2013, to be completed by the end of the year.
“We are adding an additional lane in each direction on I-35 between Rittiman Road and Randolph Boulevard, and we’re reconfiguring the ramps along that corridor,” he said. “We’re doing the new southbound ramp to southbound Loop 410 – that’s the easiest way to describe everything.”