The first two of the four U.S. Highway 281 and Loop 1604 Connectors are scheduled to open Thursday afternoon.
"We're opening the 281 North to Loop 1604 East and Loop 1604 West direct connector, so it's two of the four connectors we've been building. The time is still depending on a number of different factors, but we will guarantee that we will have it open by rush hour tomorrow (Thursday) evening," said Leroy Alloway, Director of Community Development for the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority.
Those factors include how quickly the Alamo RMA will be able to get people who will be attending a Thursday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony off the bridge, and a last check to make sure all the signage and reflective striping are where they need to be.
"Our crews are working around the clock right now on those details, so we anticipate it will be opening early afternoon but we absolutely know it will be open by rush hour," said Alloway.
The last two connectors, which will connect both directions of Loop 1604 to U.S. Highway 281 South are scheduled to open in the beginning of 2013.
"They have to be open by February 7th or there's a $5,000 a day penalty that's assessed towards the designed builder. So we know they'll be opened before February 7th, but there's still very much a fluid target on exactly what date they'll be open," said Alloway.
The other two connectors still require quite a bit of work including the laying of asphalt, which is a little more difficult to set now that the temperatures are getting colder.
"After they do open we still have bridges that we're widening at Huebner, Redland, and Gold Canyon. There's still resurfacing work to be done, new ramps that were installing in the Bitters-Stone Oak area on Westbound 1604, dark sky compliant lighting that's being installed along the corridor, and sidewalks that are being put in. So, there's still some auxiliary work that will be going on until the end of May," said Alloway.
The two connectors that will open Thursday are a left lane exit off Highway 281 North.
"Give it a couple of days so we can get traffic used to this new way to drive," said Alloway, "It should be a much needed relief for the community, because we'll take 25,000 vehicles out of the traffic lights and put them onto these connectors."