DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been a long week on the highways and byways of North Texas and it’s shaping up to be a trying weekend.
Over the next two days, there are major road construction projects scheduled all across the metroplex.
There was the usual flow of traffic on Montfort Road, near Valley View Mall, during the lunch hour on Friday. But on Saturday the bridge that drapes the highway there, will be demolished.
Even before the lane closures begin, lately travel on LBJ Freeway has been challenging and it’s going to get worse, before it gets better.
Taking a glass half full approach – perhaps five years from now, when the LBJ Express is complete, North Texans will look back on the construction ciaos and chalk it up to the price of progress.
“It’s just backed up all hours of the day,” driver Charles Britt told CBS 11 News. “I just stay away from it. I take Northwest Highway or walk.”
For some, North Texas construction is more than just a traffic headache.
“It is really bad,” said Sprint Cellular Store worker Noor Ali. “We’re losing customers every day.”
Ali works at the store on the west side of the Montfort Road bridge. He says business is down 20-percent since construction started on the LBJ Express and he’s expecting an even worse decline in sales this weekend.
“We’re going to lose at least half of our business here,” he said.
Workers at other businesses along the LBJ Express project say they’re just relieved the closures are only temporary.
“I’ll be glad when it’s over,” said Peter Eubanks who works at Insurance Depot. “Fortunately in the afternoon we’re not really that busy on Saturdays. But, if we can get people in, in the morning before the actual demolition occurs, that would help.”
North Texas motorists are being warned to avoid the Interstate-635 construction area starting Saturday evening.
During the September 17 bridge demolition, the eastbound lanes of I-635, starting at Welch Road, will gradually be eliminated. Traffic will be reduced to just one lane at the Montfort Road bridge. Traffic will return to four lanes, east of the bridge.
During demolition, the Montfort bridge will be closed entirely. It’s scheduled to reopen at 6:00 Sunday evening.
“It’s all going to be worth it five years from now, absolutely,” said Andy Rittler, with the LBJ Infrastructure Group, the company doing the expansion. “We’re going to have a faster, safer, cleaner commute for drivers on 635.”
Again, the road closures will begin at 6 o’clock Saturday evening. And settle in for the same next weekend when the westbound lanes in the same area will be closed.