Traffic, Business Slowing Down On Broadway - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/22/05-Tyler

Traffic, Business Slowing Down On Broadway

Drivers and business owners dreaded the road work on South Broadway before it even began. And their nightmares have become a reality.

Tonight, the already busy highway was a traffic mess, as it is almost every day. Because most of the center turn lanes are closed off, drivers are getting a taste of what it will be like once the medians are in place.

Just today, the north-bound lanes between South Town and Robert E. Lee Drive were re-opened, after being closed since yesterday, causing a traffic bottleneck. That just added to the congestion drivers have already experienced for the past couple of months.

Closed-off lanes, construction barriers, plus thousands of drivers. It's a formula for chaos.

"Do you honk at people?" I asked one driver.

"No, I don't do that," Bob Garten said.

"Yes, he does, too," his wife, Nancy, said.

"I do not," Bob retorted.

"If the light turns green, and if they don't move, he honks," Nancy said.

For some drivers, there's no choice but to take South Broadway, road rage and all.

"There's no other way to our destination but this road," John Iley, another commuter, said.

"You try going down Old Bullard Road, and it's just as bad or worse. So alternate routes are pretty hard to find," Chuck Jamison, a driver, said.

Some people are resorting to desperate measures. We watched car after car cut through Broadway Square Mall to bypass traffic on both South Broadway and Old Bullard.

During the busiest hours of the day, like lunchtime or after-work rush hour, it just might be faster to walk.

"The other day, I left Brookshire's. It took 30 minutes for me to drive from Brookshire's to Wal-Mart," Julie Johnson, general manager of the Dairy Queen on South Broadway at Loop 323, said. "And I said, never again will I do that one at nighttime."

So the DQ manager can understand why her business has slowed down 35 percent since we talked to her two months ago, when the median construction began.

"Day shift is fine," she said. "People are still coming. But at nighttime, it's pretty much died down a lot."

In the same shopping center, Smoothie King has also seen a decline in sales, during a season when cold drinks are usually more popular.

"A lot of people that come in complain about it," Melissa Whitt, an employee there, said. "You have to turn around to come all the way in. And you can't get out that way because of all the construction."

According to TX-DOT, there won't be any relief from the traffic until at least November. TX-DOT wants to finish construction before the busy holiday season, when traffic will get even worse.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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