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Hwy 281 & Loop 1604 Ramps Should Relieve Rush Hour Congestion

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio

Hwy 281 North and Loop 1604 are finally connecting this afternoon evening and will finally be open after months of construction.

Anyone who travels the 281/1604 corridor knows the extended commute they face during rush hour, but with the completion of one of the connectors, drivers on 281 North can access 1604 East & West without having to exit the freeway.

"It will give drivers a new way to drive avoiding traffic lights and when all four ramps are open we'll be saving drivers 40 hours a year that they won't be stuck in traffic," said  Alamo Regional Mobility Authority Community Development Director Leroy Alloway.

The $130 million project took 18 months to get this far and is $10 million under budget. The next connector, 1604 East & West to 281 South is expected to open in February.

Another project, which still needs environmental clearance, will complete the four connectors north of 1604.  RMA Executive Director Terry Brechtel said none of the interchange ramps will be tolled.

"Fortunately, through the city of San Antonio, through our local Metropolitan Planning Organization, we're able to get all eight of these funded without tolling," Brechtel said. Portions of the City of San Antonio's 2012 Bond Package fund some of the ramps construction.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said about 50,000 people are expected to use the completed interchange each day.

"This is just the beginning. We still have two more connectors to do on the other side, we've put together funding for over $400 million to continue to expanding lanes going west on 1604 and going north to Stone Oak," the Judge said.

Since the 1980's, traffic in the area as gone from 10,000 to 100,000 cars per day.