Construction Causing Headaches and Hurting Businesses - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/23/07-Longview

Construction Causing Headaches and Hurting Businesses

A major construction project has been causing some major headaches around Longview and not just for drivers.   Since January, TxDOT crews have been installing raised medians along Loop 281 from Gilmer Road to Tuttle Boulevard.

Rainy days are slow days for businesses, but it's even slower when you've got construction right outside your door. Lotus Inn Chinese Restaurant has been seeing "orange and white" for almost six months now. 

"We've slowed down quite a bit, probably we've drop probably 40-45 percent of lunch," says owner Eric Yuan.

The restaurant has been family owned and operated for 11 years.  Yaun says before construction, business was booming, but now..."we don't have a big rush anymore, we used to have a rush, 11 to about 2:30, that's our lunch crowd, but now just probably just come and go," he says.

He's had to lay off half his wait staff and money's been tight for him and his wife, supporting a kid in college, but he says he refuses to close.

"As long as we can make enough money to pay our bills, we'll stay here."

Businesses along Loop 281 say they've realized there's little they can do about the construction, but bear it.  Many of them say they just wish TxDOT would have talked to them before putting all this at their front door.

"We pay taxes in this town and nobody considered any of that, and nobody asked us what do you think," says Walt Irwin.

He owns Discount Wheel and Tire.  He says there's no doubt the construction has had a negative impact on his business, but with no compensation from the state, there's nothing he can do.  

"That's kind of the way the state presents it, 'hey, sorry but we know this road runs through this town, but we want to change it and we don't care what anyone thinks,'" he explains.

So while drivers make their way through the newly installed U-turns, local businesses owners can only hope their business turns around too...for the better.

TxDOT says the median installation should be completed by late October, but in January they will begin construction on widening Loop 281 to six lanes.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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