Construction slows down business

By Lane Luckie - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For several months drivers have manuevered through construction headaches in south Lufkin, but some area businesses in that area are suffering too.

Julie Walker operates the Chick-fil-A near construction along Loop 287 in Lufkin. "We've got a front row seat here, to see what's going on," she said.

For almost a year, crews have been working on improving traffic congestion along portions of Loop 287 and Highway 59. Walker said, "Raising light poles and pouring concrete and building walls. I've kind of enjoyed that process."

Business has been slow, but Walker said her restaurant is working around the progress. Walker said, "They can count us being quick, but they can't count on getting here quick. It takes longer to get everywhere. People in this town are just not used to having to go a little farther to get where they want to go."

TXDOT is adjusting entrances to merchants like Chick-Fil-A to make sure business doesn't come to a grinding halt. "We might have to move that location at times or build a temporary one or let two businesses share one, but we keep them access."

TXDOT tells KTRE, the construction should be finished in 18 months, but that's still a ways down the road. And with weather like today, who knows what the weather holds. TXDOT Engineer David Collmorgen said, " It can rain tonight and that will set us back three or four days. We are supposed to stripe Thursday. You can't put paint out if it's raining."

Delays like weather could keep businesses suffering. But Walker is optimistic. She said better roads could bring more customers. "It's going to be great for retailers if we can survive it."

TXDOT officials said the Whitehouse bridge will be open by the end of the week. They are also hoping to have access to service rodes along Highway 59 in front of Wal-mart in the near future.