Long-awaited Loop 1604 expansion project in northwest San Antonio getting underway

Project would expand the highway from four to ten lanes over the next few years

Long-awaited Loop 1604 expansion project in northwest San Antonio getting underway
Long-awaited Loop 1604 expansion project in northwest San Antonio getting underway

SAN ANTONIO – Traffic on Loop 1604 on the Northwest Side promises to get a lot worse before it gets better as the Texas Department of Transportation begins a major expansion project that will lead to short-term disruptions to provide long-term congestion relief.

“On Loop 1604, we have over 150,000 drivers who travel on it every day, and it’s just going to double within the next 20 years,” said Jennifer Serold, a spokesperson for TxDOT. “So we’re really moving full force with this project to help reduce congestion and improve mobility across that North Bexar County corridor.”

TxDOT will expand Loop 1604 from four lanes to ten lanes, including HOV lanes. It will also include accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians. The first phase of construction got underway late last month and will stretch between Bandera Road and I-10.

So far, there have only been weeknight alternating lane and ramp closures, but that’s about to change. Crews have been putting barriers in place and restriping lanes ahead of the major work that’s planned over the coming years.

“With these improvements, we’re looking to cut drivers’ commute times by more than half, so we appreciate everyone’s patience,” Serold said.

Construction will begin on another segment, from I-10 to U.S. 281, later this summer. Eventually, the expansion will extend eastward to I-35 in northeast Bexar County.

The work will also include a major overhaul of the Loop 1604/I-10 West interchange, long a source of frustration for drivers. It would remove the cloverleaf design and put in a five-level direct connect interchange as well. That work is projected to begin in 2022.

“It’s about time. It really creates a lot of havoc when you’re stuck in traffic for extended periods of time,” said Analisa Mogollon, who frequently uses the highway.

As for the timetable of the improvements, work on Phase I (Bandera Road to I-10) is expected to be finished in 2024, the I-10 to 281 segment in 2025, and the interchange overhaul isn’t expected to be completed until 2027.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $1.3 billion, with about half of that already funded with state and federal dollars.

Some advocacy groups have criticized the project for its size, expense and potential environmental impacts. Part of the roadway sits in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. In environmental studies, TxDOT said any runoff could be mitigated during and after construction through vegetative and sand filters and other measures.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.