NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Construction on a $2.9-million project on East Austin Street in Nacogdoches began Monday morning. It’s already a week behind due to recent rainfall.
Motorists, residents, and emergency workers are being forced to make adjustments.
Motorists faced the barricades this morning at East Austin. The convenient route to and from University Drive and the Pecan Orchard neighborhoods is over for now. Safety enhancement is the goal of the Texas Department of Transportation project on FM 2609.
Rhonda Oaks, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation, explained the roadway will go, “from two lanes to four lanes once this construction is completed. In addition, there will be sidewalks. There will also be a new traffic signal installed at the intersection of Raguet and East Austin. It’s going to take until the spring of 2020 to get it completed."
The project has been on the drawing board for many years. Nearby residents fought it every step along the way. A homeowner at the corner of Raguet and East Austin is still trying to reach an agreeable settlement with TxDOT. Their attorney didn’t want them to comment on the compensation dispute. Mary Jane Ward did provide images of what she’s missing. Deer grazed in front yards. Towering trees disappeared from park-like yards.
Drewery Construction is attempting to make the project as tolerable as possible. Temporary roadways will lead to 11 residents along the East Austin closure. Walgreens will be reduced to one entrance on North Street.
With the barriers in place and the arrival of heavy equipment on East Austin, motorists will find their alternate routes. Emergency personnel already have.
An emergency vehicle route behind a fire station, yards from East Austin, will be closed. An alternate route is in place.
“The initial first engine, the response shouldn’t be any different,” said Nacogdoches Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger. “Although the route will be different, the length of time it takes to get there will not be any different. The second and third engines will have to take an alternative route, so we’re making contingency plans around those.”
Aside from periodic closures, the four-way stop sign at Raguet and East Austin will remain open to better serve the Raguet neighborhood and elementary school. Longer closure will happen when the light goes in.
The construction superintendent told us first order of business is to provide driveways for residents and to construct new underground sewer lines.