Businesses Hope Traffic Returns As Construction Ends

If you build it, they will come. But in many cases, not until the construction is finished.

Tyler construction at one location has slowed traffic for more than two years. For some businesses, the traffic problems created have been the difference between success and failure.

Jim Lozier is the owner of Firestation Auto Center, located right in the middle of the construction. He said it's nice to finally get some cars driving by again.

"We've finally got some traffic flow through here that we haven't got for well over two years," he said Tuesday.

Firestation stayed open through the construction, even though they estimate traffic cut their sales thirty percent. "I lost my manager who was with me eleven years, i can understand his standpoint," Lozier says. "And I lost a couple of good technicians at the service center because of the slowness."

Lozier says they made a commitment to staying in place, while other businesses on the strip weren't so lucky.

"They couldn't survive," he explains. "That gentleman right across the street had been here twenty years, and you couldn't get in his lot. Same thing with Dairy Queen, you just couldn't get in. Again, they closed all up and down the street."

As for the extended construction, TXDoT says in the end it will pay off for the businesses. Engineer Randy Redmond says, "They were inconvenienced with the project, there's no doubt, but I think they're going to see benefits from it with the increased traffic due to the mobility increase."

So work continues at Firestation, and they say it's already working out.

"We had somebody actually call this morning and say, 'I took this new route because it was open,' and called me on that Forerunner right there, so there's already been some positive impact from it."

Now, if only they could get the sun to shine again.

Reid Kerr reporting.