Fixes to traffic congestion at Wurzbach Parkway and Northwest Military Highway likely will include through and turn lanes, but not a tunnel as originally envisioned, planners said.

The Texas Department of Transportation unveiled its latest proposals at a Dec. 14 open house at the Barshop Jewish Community Center.

At one point TxDOT envisioned an underpass/tunnel as part of a $30 million project to alleviate clogged roads, but residents have indicated they prefer options that call for less construction and noise, officials said.

“Based on public input and priorities, traffic data and environmental impacts, the solution that best addresses the purpose and need of the project is the at-grade improvements option,” said Laura Lopez, a TxDOT spokeswoman.

Speeds slow down on the parkway at Northwest Military and it becomes Wurzbach Road.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who has long stressed finding solutions to traffic tie-ups on Wurzbach Road, is still talking with community leaders to get their views on TxDOT’s proposal.

“What the community wants is traffic relief,” Nirenberg said. “Ultimately, I am for the most cost-efficient and effective way (of) getting that done.”

Proposals from TxDOT include:

  • Adding one through lane in each direction on Wurzbach Parkway between Northwest Military and Lockhill-Selma Road
  • Adding dual left-turn lanes on all approaches at Wurzbach Parkway and Northwest Military, extending existing right-turn lanes
  • Adding two right-turn lanes on Wurzbach Parkway to northbound Northwest Military
  • The proposed through lane on Wurzbach Road south of Lockhill-Selma would end at a right-only turn lane into the Elm Creek subdivision, and sidewalks would be built on both sides of Wurzbach Parkway where none currently exist for the length of the project.

It was mid-2016 when TxDOT began exploring potential solutions to traffic tie-ups, which have increased ever since Wurzbach Parkway connected with Northwest Military a few years ago.

These proposed improvements would cost an estimated $7.5 million altogether.

Based on feedback at previous open houses and focus groups, TxDOT and its project study team concluded most people did not want an underpass/tunnel after all, nor do they want increased congestion or delays at Lockhill-Selma.

Most community members have voiced support for having improvements where construction would create minimal noise or environmental impact, officials said.

Many people also called for maintaining through movements, and preserving access to neighborhoods and businesses surrounding the intersection.

TxDOT representatives said the added turn and through lanes would allow more green-light time for movements that need them the most, and would increase the intersection’s capacity.

“Those turn lights will be concurrent. You’ll still get a lot of green,” said Mark Mosley, TxDOT planning engineer.

Some attendees at the Dec. 14 open house appeared eager for some kind of betterment.

Others fear such a project may produce unintended consequences.

Jacques Braha, founding partner at Fulcrum Development, said there’s already a problem of eastbound motorists getting off Wurzbach Parkway and cutting through Alon Town Centre to circumvent the bottleneck at Northwest Military.

In other cases, people exiting the retail center cut across a busy parkway to try and access the turn onto northbound Northwest Military.

Braha said the retail center could give up some right of way to provide deterrents against the cut-through traffic.

“We’d work with you guys. That’d help us out,” he added.

The state expects environmental clearance the summer.

Construction would start two years later and last 10 months.

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