HURST (CBSDFW.COM) – On Monday night traffic was shut down on Precinct Line Road in Hurst. The major north-south route will close each night through Wednesday, while crews work on Highway 183.
Three years into the North Tarrant Express Project (NTE) and drivers have come to find battling closures, detours, and backups an every day occurrence.
Monday night CBS 11 News learned one city is spending money to make sure people don’t avoid the area altogether.
You can check the closure updates every day online. But sometimes when you’re driving through the Mid-Cities of Hurst, Euless or Bedford (HEB) it can feel you’re in a new part of a maze.
The construction is actually changing the way the city of Hurst looks. From the highway you used to be able to see North East Mall and figure out how to get there, but now all you see are more roads.
After years of NTE construction, concern grew in Hurst that drivers not sure which way to go, would just go somewhere else.
City of Hurst Communications Manager Ashleigh Johnson said, “The bigger issue is losing people. For the longest, we were the only ones with a major retail mall.”
The North East Mall is a major economic driver in the small city. So, the city stepped when exits to get to the shopping area started closing.
Banners now tell shoppers to ‘relax – you’re in your happy place now.’ Signs with shopping bags on them try to convince people it’s time for some retail therapy.
The slogans and signs are part of a $20,000 marketing campaign the city paid for with tax income from mall properties.
“It’s a very unique partnership between the City of Hurst and the North East Mall,” explained Holly Conner, the director of mall marketing and business development. “From what we can see so far, it has helped.”
Simon Malls had its own traffic updates going out to shoppers, but Hurst has gone a step further with its own traffic website.
New businesses are popping up in places where the highway is almost finished. Hurst is just trying make sure people don’t forget about the businesses the city was built on.
“We need to communicate what is open, there are ways to get to the mall, ways to get to our businesses, to get to city hall, it’s just a matter of effectively communicating it,” Johnson said.
The city is getting tens of thousands of visitors to the new website, so many that numbers for that page are comparable to the official city website.
The Don’t Let The Traffic Get You Down, Find Your Happy Place campaign will run through the summer, that’s when city leaders are hoping a lot of the construction work will be complete.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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