The project spans 6.7 miles from Hillcrest Drive to I-35. The project will create a divided roadway with two lanes of travel in each direction, which will improve mobility and safety, officials said.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the project is scheduled to wrap on schedule in late 2021, four years after breaking ground.
A closure at the Gruene Road exit took effect Oct. 5 and will continue as late as summer 2019, according to TxDOT.
However, Connor Brown, manager at the Grapevine in Gruene, a tasting room and bar in the Gruene Historic District, said traffic has remained steady.
“As far as business goes there has not been even the slightest decrease in foot traffic or any kind of traffic, especially coming from that exit,” he said.
Brown said he previously lived in an apartment complex near the exit and noted that residents have been largely impacted by the construction.
The second project phase, which is expected to begin in late 2019, weather permitting, will affect students and employees at New Braunfels High School.
“We’ll have to make some kind of a diagram for the kids,” NBISD Communication Director Rebecca Villarreal said.
The $42 million undertaking is funded by partnerships among the state, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Comal County, the city of New Braunfels and other and local entities. Construction is being completed by Hunter Industries.
In addition to increased mobility, pedestrian and bicycle accommodations are part of the project’s scope, an element intended to enhance safety.