On Friday, motorists in the Loop 1604 and Hwy. 281 corridors received an early Christmas gift in the form highway connectors. The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority has opened the last two connectors for the first phase of the project; westbound and eastbound 1604 onto 281 south both opened to traffic at noon.
Michelle Martinez with the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority said the contractors were able to complete the connectors a little ahead of schedule.
"They had until February until open. We were hoping [to open] at the beginning of the year and fortunately with a lot of work that they’ve done this month they’ve been allowed to open today,” Martinez said.
The northbound 281 to 1604 East and West connectors were opened last month. About 50,000 cars are expected to use all four connecters every day. Although the connectors are open, construction will continue on the $131 million project until May at the earliest.
The next phase of the interchange will be to construct the connectors north of 1604. That will take eastbound and westbound 1604 onto 281 North, and southbound 281 onto 1604 East and West.
The second phase is still waiting for environmental clearance which is expected to be granted in 2014.