Super Street update: Encino to keep left-turn lanes
At least 300 people attended an open house Tuesday to view updates on the proposed Hwy 281 Super Street. A temporary fix to relieve the highway’s congestion between Encino and Marshall Road, the Super Street is expected to be under construction by the end of the year and completed by summer of 2010.
Already proven successful in a number of other states, the Super Street will ease congestion by reducing the number of signal phases from the current six to two at three major intersections. To do this, cars on Evans, Stone Oak Parkway and Marshall Road will no longer be allowed to cross or turn left onto Hwy 281. Instead, motorists will be directed right onto the highway and given the option to head straight or turn around at additional traffic lights that will be installed roughly 1,000 feet from each intersection.
The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, which is heading the project, anticipates the morning commute from Marshall Road to Loop 1604 will drop from 31 minutes to 15 after the Super Street is constructed. Likewise, the evening commute on northbound 281 is expected to fall from 18 minutes to 10.
Encino Rio, which had a similar design to the other three intersections, will now maintain its left-hand turn lanes. An Alamo RMA staff member says traffic models consistently show too many vehicles are already entering the highway from Encino to make the Super Street work. Some changes will still be made at the intersection, including the addition of a third left-turn lane on Encino at 281. Motorists traveling southbound on Hwy 281 will also lose the ability to turn left onto Encino Rio after the Super Street is in place.
This plan is expected to relieve congestion for the next five to seven years while work continues on finding a more permanent solution for 281. This will be the first Super Street built in Texas.
Most of those who attended Tuesday’s meeting were in favor of the plan and anxious for construction to begin. Some, particularly parents of teenage drivers, were concerned about how cars will be able to transition to the far left lane on 281 in time to make the new turnarounds.
“This is going to be a learning experience for everyone,” said an Alamo RMA employee.