Construction: Good for Roads, Bad for Businesses

By Joseph Marcades

Road construction may be a necessary inconvenience for the residents of Lubbock, but for businesses located near traffic closures, it can be bad news.

One 7-11 store, at 98th Street and Slide Road, has experienced this first-hand when the entrances on its east side were blocked by road construction for weeks. The store’s assistant manager, Casey English, said the blockage prevented patrons from entering the store’s parking lot. A noticeable dip in purchase volume ensued.

The store’s assistant manager, Casey English, said the blockage prevented patrons from entering the store’s parking lot. A noticeable dip in purchase volume ensued.

Joey Marcades/The Hub@TTU

Joey Marcades for The Hub@TTU

The contractor, Allen Butler Construction Inc., had informed the 7-11 store of the planned blockages, English said, but estimated the store entrances would be clear within two weeks. Instead, the blockage lasted about three months.

Instead, the blockage lasted about three months.

“We threw a fit every time an employee walked in here,” English said. “It was a hazard. If we had an emergency and traffic was backed up here, an emergency vehicle couldn’t get to us. And we have fuel.”

English said a location-exclusive promotion is currently in place to bring business back because of the blockages’ impact on the store.

The  road construction that blocked the two 7-11 entrances is one of six major projects in the area, according to the Texas Department of Transportation’s Lubbock district profile. The project aims to widen FM 1730, also known as Slide Road, from two to six lanes.

The project tracker on TxDOT’s website shows Allen Butler Construction Inc. began working on the project on June 2, 2014. The estimated completion date was in late 2015, according to TxDOT’s initial press release, but the project tracker indicates a revised completion date of May 31, 2016.

Dianah Ascencio, TxDOT’s public information officer, said weather was a major factor in the delayed completion according to the area engineer.

As far as blocking business entrances, she said TxDOT’s policy is clear.

“We try not to limit the entrance to businesses,” Ascencio said. “We try our very best to work with businesses on any kind of construction project, to keep them updated and to let them know what we are going to be doing.”

Ascencio said contractors are generally in charge of informing the businesses about entrance blockages.

A representative of Allen Butler Construction Inc. had no comment and referred the issue back to the public information officer at TxDOT.

 

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