Interchange project drives customers away from local stores


by Brian New / KENS 5

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Another weekend means another round of lane closures in the 281/1604 corridor.

All northbound lanes of U.S. 281 from Donella Drive to 1604 will be closed both Saturday and Sunday from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Due to concerns of low overnight temperatures, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority said repaving the lanes needs to be done during the day.

With less than three weeks until Christmas, Toy Werks owner Elizabeth McGehee said the timing could not be worse.

The local toy store owner said she's worried that people trying to avoid the construction also will be avoiding her store.

McGehee said the year-long construction has made for a difficult year.

“Our business has dropped considerably,” she said.  “I think it’s totally due to the construction.  People have the perception that they can’t get here, but in reality it hasn’t been that hard to get here.”

However, many business owners have found convincing people that the traffic is not that bad has been difficult.

This is why the owner of the Rise Café and Bakery installed a traffic camera looking out from his restaurant.

“Last week I installed a camera so people can just check on my website and see for themselves if there’s traffic at 1604 and 281 or not,” Chris Lombardi said.

By May, the Alamo RMA said the 281/1604 interchange project will be complete, but that may be too late for some businesses -- unless the perception is changed.