After a Decade of Debate, Work Begins on US 281 Expansion

After more than ten years of debate, the heavy equipment finally began to move dirt on the massive project to expand US Highway 281 north of Loop 1604, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

TxDOT's San Antonio Division says the ceremonial groundbreaking took place in May, but actual work began on Monday on Phase One of the project, which will expand the highway from 1604 to just north of Stone Oak.

The nearly $200 million dollar first phase, which is set to be completed in 2020, will include construction of two general purpose lands and one High Occupancy Vehicle lane in each direction, as well as the completion of the northern half of the interchange at Loop 1604, connector lanes, and a direct connect lane to a VIA Park and Ride facility which will be built near Stone Oak Pkwy.

Construction is set to begin in 2019 on the second phase of the project, which involves expanding 281 from Stone Oak to Borgfeld Rd.

With more than $530 million budgeted for the entire project, it will be the biggest single construction project ever in Bexar County.

The entire project, which had been set to include toll roads, was redesignated as non tolled after voters approved two propositions freeing up billions of dollars for highway construction.

While the project will include immense construction effort, TxDOT stresses that much of the most intrusive work and as many closings as possible will take place overnight.

  But they warn there will be construction delays from time to time before the entire project is set to be completed in 2022.