David Tucci says business is off since Oak Meadow Drive was closed unexpectedly.
By Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – Road construction making improvements to ease congestion on U.S. 290 West is causing collateral damage to local businesses. Oak Meadow Drive, the street behind Planet Fitness, has been temporarily closed during local construction.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is currently working on several projects in Oak Hill, including:
• An innovative intersection at William Cannon and U.S. 290 West
• Improved turn lanes on U.S. 290 West between Convict Hill and RM 1826
The road closure at Oak Meadow Drive was a surprise to many, and a problem for businesses whose customers used that road for access.
Tucci’s Southside Subs has been a staple at the Oak Hill Plaza for six years. Owner David Tucci says he was blindsided by the road closure. He told the Gazette, “We have a base of very loyal customers who have braved the traffic for years, but just a few weeks ago, without any word from anybody, they dropped cement barricades in front of Oak Meadow and the U.S. 290 West entrance to the entire shopping center. This forces all our customers from the west (ACC, the hospital, etc.) to go through the light at the ‘Y’ and enter our center from the Highway 71 side. This often takes over 10 minutes at the lunch hour. They used to be able to turn left on Oak Meadow and enter the back side of the center.”
Tucci said the loss to his business is at least $200 a day in sales, and he says other business are suffering as well.
Dennis White owns a seafood business called Fishey Bizness. His food trailer was located on Oak Meadow Drive—but then the barricades went up. White told the Gazette, “This pretty much cut out about 50 percent of my business. My wife contacted TxDOT and was told this would not change for about a year. Because of this we have relocated to 6218 Brodie Lane.”
Kelli Reyna, Public Information Officer for the TxDOT Austin District, said of the closure, “We understand that construction can have an impact on commuters and businesses, and we apologize for any inconvenience this project may have caused. TxDOT is committed to completing this work in the most effective and efficient manner possible and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we strive to make U.S. 290 a safer, better roadway.”
While some had heard that Oak Meadows Drive might remain permanently closed, Reyna said that is not the case. She said that when construction is completed, drivers on U.S. 290 West will be able to turn into the road from either direction. However, she said drivers exiting Oak Meadows onto U.S. 290 West will only be able to turn right and head west.
According to a fact sheet about the projects, the current construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. But other projects on the list may mean Oak Hill drivers will be faced with ongoing road construction for the foreseeable future.
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