SAN ANGELO, Texas — Southwest Boulevard will partially reopen to the public tomorrow, Thursday, December 23, 2021.

According to a statement issued by the City of San Angelo this morning, Wednesday, December 22, 2021, the inner lanes of the low water crossing near Southwest and Loop 306 will reopen on Thursday morning. Outer lanes will remain closed while additional construction work is completed at the crossing.

The stretch of road at Southwest and Loop 306 was closed on June 1, 2021, for the installation of a number of stormwater improvements the City believes will alleviate flooding at the crossing, one of the most notoriously flood-prone in the city. Those improvements included raising the roadway by more than 2 feet, the installation of larger “conveyance structures”, and channel improvements from Southwest to the Loop 306 frontage road.

The reopening tomorrow comes nearly four months after the city’s initial estimate for completion of the project. The City says the weather and utility conflicts during construction were the primary causes for delays early in the project.

Southwest Boulevard low water crossing near Loop 306
Southwest Boulevard low water crossing near Loop 306. Courtesy: City of San Angelo

“The Southwest low water crossing receives stormwater runoff from almost the entirety of the Southland area,” said Mitchell Gatlin, Project Engineer with City of San Angelo Engineering Services. “That combined with utility conflicts discovered during construction contributed to the greatest number of delay days.”

In late July construction on the project was delayed after crews discovered that sewer lines at the low water crossing were at a different elevation than was initially planned for.

“Despite all the planning, all the prep work, all of the preliminary stuff that we’ve done, it’s not uncommon that when we actually open up the road and dig the hole that we encounter something that we just weren’t aware of,” said Patrick Frerich, City of San Angelo Assistant Operations Director in a video released by the City in late July. “When we were going in and were in the process of raising that road and putting in more box culverts to carry that water, the elevation that the box culverts were supposed to go into were actually in the same area as the existing sewer line.”

Crews then had to replace the sewer line at the crossing at a lower elevation to allow the new infrastructure to be installed at its proper elevation.

Southwest Blvd. Construction Update 7-30-21. Courtesy: City of San Angelo

A later decision to use concrete pavement instead of asphalt for the roadway, a choice that was made because of pavement’s decreased maintenance costs and longer lifespan, also contributed to delays. Gatlin cited the time necessary to get additional materials for pavement construction and rescheduling concrete crews with the project’s contractor as major contributing factors.

The city estimates additional work on Southwest Boulevard, such as the reconstruction of the intersection of Southwest and Southland, to take until April of next year.

Overall, work on Southwest Boulevard, which includes mill and overlay work in addition to drainage improvements and roadway reconstruction, has been estimated to cost $7.04 million.