Medians Coming To South Broadway - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/2/04-Tyler

Medians Coming To South Broadway

Construction begins next month on new medians that will extend from South Loop 323 to Heritage Drive in South Tyler.

South Broadway, as it is now, allows drivers the freedom to turn left pretty much wherever they want, but it can also be chaos, especially during heavy traffic.

"I think the best thing about the raised medians is coming out of the Wal-Mart parking lot, making a left-hand turn, people won't be having wrecks anymore," Robert Morris, a driver for the medians, said.

Reducing the number of accidents is one of the main reasons the city wants medians installed, along a 2.6-mile stretch south of the Loop. According to TX-DOT, between 1995 and 2000, there were more than 720 left-turn crashes on South Broadway.

However, not everyone agrees that medians will lead to fewer accidents.

"I think it's going to cause more because so many people are going to be trying to make U-turns at stoplights," Tara Davis, a driver against medians, said.

The South Broadway project may remind you of another recent median project, on Loop 323. During and after construction last year and the year before, a number of businesses complained their sales went down because customers were inconvenienced.

"It can't do anything but hurt my business," Jerry Cole, the owner of Cole Cellular, said.

The cell phone retailer is one of numerous stores that will be blocked off from opposite lane traffic by the median.

"That means all of my customers from now are going to have to go to the light at South Town Drive and make a U-turn in a major intersection, with people traveling 50 to 60 miles an hour," he said.

Pros and cons aside, the medians are scheduled to be completed by next November, adding red brick and greenery to an otherwise bare highway.

The city already predicts inconvenience for drivers, so it has given businesses some tips to keep their customers loyal, such as having construction day sales.

TX-DOT estimates the median project to cost taxpayers 6.5 million dollars.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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