Broadway Median Construction Begins, Businesses Complain

Start getting used to hearing construction noise and watching out for drivers cutting through the work zone of South Broadway's raised median project.

The medians are supposed to reduce the number of left-turn accidents and help the flow of more than 40,000 cars a day. But for now, shutting down three lanes on South Broadway is not helping nearby businesses, like Book Barn, a used books store that just opened two months ago.

"The good news is there's an incredible amount of traffic. The bad news is there's an incredible amount of traffic," Bob Mercer, the owner, said.

Restaurant owners in the French Quarter shopping center are afraid customers who want to avoid the hassle of construction will just keep driving down the road and find another restaurant to eat at.

"They may decide to pass on coming into the French Quarter or here," Randy Adams, general manager of Ken's Pizza, said. "When they first did the widening of Broadway, they shut our power off, shut our water off for a while, periodically. And it did slow us down for a couple of weeks."

Next door, at Dairy Queen, lunchtime business has already slowed down.

"It's 12 o'clock, and there's no one here hardly, so hopefully, they'll start coming here in a minute," Julie Johnson, general manager, said. "I hate it. I have to go to the bank and things like that. I have to go down Broadway. And I'd rather take an alternate route myself. So I can imagine what the customers feel."

The construction won't end until November. At least, that's the plan, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Progress comes at a price, but drivers and businesses hope that progress progresses quickly.

When crews finish with the section of South Broadway between Loop 323 to Shiloh Road, construction will continue south all the way to Heritage Drive.

Julie Tam, reporting,