Basse, Blanco Road intersection being improved

Signs confuse seniors at road construction project


SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio has stepped in to make a change and offer explanations about a construction project on Blanco Road that has confused residents near the project.

The project is a two-year effort to improve Blanco Road from Hildebrand to Jackson Keller.

Consternation among drivers is expected due to detours and delays, but many nearby residents who label themselves seniors are confused as well.

Aside eastbound Basse Road at Blanco Road, a metal sign is posted advising drivers that the right lane is for right turns only.

However, construction has limited traffic to just that lane and seniors say drivers are confused about whether they can legally turn left from that lane.

There are also metal signs hanging above the disjointed intersection on both the southbound and northbound sides that warn drivers that left turns are not allowed.

However, the traffic signals there seem to suggest that left turns are allowed.

Mercy Cortez, 63, is one of the confused drivers who alerted the KSAT 12 Defenders to the questionable signs.

"Us drivers are confused if we should stop or go or turn or not to turn," Cortez said.

She said other drivers are not courteous with the older drivers as they try to negotiate the intersection.

"Drivers that are behind us (are) honking, the ones that are going, the ones that are coming, the ones that are turning," Cortez said. "They're just cussing and honking and yelling.

Cortez spends the early part of her day at the Kenwood Center, where she spends time with other seniors, including pedestrians like Faris Hodge, Jr.

Hodge described harrowing attempts to cross the intersection on foot and said the time allotted for pedestrians is too short. He also described drivers at the intersection.

"Everybody's confused going all different ways," Hodge said.

The KSAT 12 Defenders asked the city to investigate these complaints and within days, Melissa Sparks, the spokeswoman for the Capital Improvement Management Services Department, had answers.

The construction company doing the project was asked to cover up the "Right Lane Right Turn Only" sign on Basse Road.

"As soon as we realized that error, we covered that sign up so that people will be able to turn right or left from that lane," Sparks said.

But she explained that the no left turn signs held aloft over the intersection refer to left turns into businesses such as Little Cesar's and Elegant Furs.

Such left turns there, Sparks said, would hold up traffic turning left, legally, onto Basse Road from both the northbound and southbound sides.

Sparks said the project may be causing inconvenience now, but that the eventual result of having Basse Road meet at Blanco from both sides will vastly improve travel.

The project has other upgrades as well.

"We are improving the sidewalks; we're including utilities like drainage, gas, water, and so everything will be done once we are out of there," Sparks said.

The project should be completed by fall of next year.