SHAVANO PARK — Residents are seeing the start of a long-awaited project designed over the next three years to improve the city’s main road, Northwest Military Highway.
TxDOT also plans partial reconstruction of residential driveways lining Northwest Military to help motorists reach the expanded road more easily.
In addition, VIA Metropolitan Transit will install a covered bus stop near Pond Hill Road and Northwest Military.
Ahead of the major roadwork, AT&T contractors began moving fiber lines in May around the roadway. Relocation of utilities, including the city’s water main, was scheduled to last several months.
During this phase, it is likely that the two outside lanes will be closed and the two center lanes will be used for two-way traffic, city officials explained.
The city set up a webpage — https://www.shavanopark.org/residents/nw_military_project.php — to keep residents updated on the project in coordination with TxDOT.
“We all know it’s coming but it is hard to visualize how the construction will proceed,” City Manager Bill Hill said. “Once work begins, I’m sure there will be more questions and we will work with TxDOT to answer them and to post on our website.”
Major roadwork was expected to launch in June at 1604 and continue south.
Officials said residents and others driving along Northwest Military through town can expect various lane closures during the construction period, which will last into early 2024.
According to TxDOT, no additional right of way was required to accommodate the project. No structures are being displaced because of the construction.
The $15.5 million total project has long been in the works for TxDOT, which is responsible for maintaining the entire state road, and for Shavano Park, which is helping to fund water-line relocation.
The 2010 town plan, updated several years later, contained a traffic study pointing to a significant rise in movement along Northwest Military.
TxDOT data shows that Northwest Military inside Shavano Park supported an average daily vehicle count of 15,755. That number was projected to increase to 31,220 by 2045.
Prior to the project’s launch, several Shavano Park residents expressed hope that a speed-limit reduction would be part of the state’s improvements along Northwest Military. It’s currently 45 mph.
But in a project meeting held in 2019 in Shavano Park, TxDOT’s representatives said there is no plan to change the speed limit, adding such a consideration requires a traffic study.
Other residents worry about the removal of trees for the road’s expansion.
TxDOT and the city worked together for years to minimize tree removal and “identify solutions that maintain the unique character of the area,” according to a TxDOT response to the 2019 project meeting.
Hill agreed TxDOT has been helpful about the project moving ahead with as few inconveniences possible.
“We have received a few questions on the Northwest Military Highway construction. Those questions have been about drainage, mailboxes, sidewalk and trees,” he said. “TxDOT has worked with us to make drainage considerations and to save as many trees as they can.”