Sam Houston Street construction begins
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After more than three years of planning, the Sam Houston Drive reconstruction project is under way.
"It's been a long process. It badly needs to be done, so we're really excited to finally get started," Victoria public works director Lynn Short said.
When it's done, 2.2 miles of Sam Houston Drive, from Laurent Street to Crescent Street will be a smooth sheet of concrete, with clean right angles, new stoplights at the intersections.
Basically, it will look nothing like the roller-coaster ride of a street now in existence.
However, some residents and business owners aren't looking forward to the construction.
Salon owner Abbie Hysquierdo said she's worried about the impact construction will have on her business, Ultimate Styles by Abbie.
The salon has been open for three years. While Hysquierdo and the other hairstylists work to build their regular clientele, people walking in off the street are an important part of their business, Hysquierdo said.
If it becomes harder to get to the salon, these types of customers may just go elsewhere, Hysquierdo fears.
"It needs to be done. The road needs to be fixed. We're hoping it won't affect us, but we're worried," she said.
Victoria resident Roy Robinson lives at 1702 Neil Fox St. on the corner of Sam Houston Drive, right in the middle of the construction once it gets under way.
"It has needed to be done for years, but it will mean traffic and more noise. I'm not looking forward to it," Robinson said.
An $18 million bid from SER Construction Partners Ltd., of Pasadena, was accepted by the Victoria City Council in August.
The first phase of construction started on Saturday, reducing the two-way road from four lanes to two near Laurent Street on the west side of Sam Houston.
Sam Houston will be under construction for the next 22 months, if there aren't any delays, Short said.
"It could be delayed if the weather is bad, but it's likely to get done in that time frame." Short said.
Short said he understands that people in the area aren't looking forward to the construction.
"There are always issues rising with construction, but we're making specific effort to minimize interference to both residents and businesses on that street."
Still, Short said, after years of work, it's satisfying to see the project get under way.
"I'm happy we're getting under way with it. There's a definite need for this construction."