Public Works director: Prince Street construction ahead of schedule

Jimmy Vela of Nick Griego & Sons Contruction smooths out a driveway approach Monday on Prince St. The driveway is being replaced as part of the ongoing Prince Street construction project.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Business owners that lie within a construction corridor on Prince Street appear to be taking the chaos in stride.

The $3 million project on Prince Street from 21st Street to Llano Estacado includes resurfacing, drainage installation and adding sidewalks compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Lines of orange cones and barrels have perforated the one-mile stretch between 21st Street and Llano Estacado Boulevard since worked started the first week of September.

Business entrances from Prince Street have in most cases been reduced to one, with others blocked by cones. Several side streets have been closed.

“It’s had some effect (on business),” Kripple Creek restaurant manager Keith Worm said.

“(Business is) a little slower and it’s really hard to get in, especially from the southbound lane. I know I missed the turn several times.”

Public Works Director Clint Bunch said the work is ahead of schedule and going smoothly. The project is expected to take 120 days, city officials said.

“They’ve had good weather and everything seems to be going pretty well,” he said, explaining crews are still doing the concrete work, insulating drainage pipes and will next grind up the street surface to create a base for new asphalt.

Most of the milling and processing will be done at night, then new pavement will be laid and striping will take place, Bunch said.

There have been few complaints from residents and businesses in the area, “And I’ve also had some positive feedback from many citizens,” Bunch said.

A traffic control design for the construction has been working well, he said.

“We’ve been joking that maybe the equipment (and cones near the entrance) are drawing attention to us,” said Kimberly Begay, general manager for Something Different Grill near the corner of Prince Street and Llano Estacado Boulevard.

She said the restaurant has experienced little if any drop in customers and has even been busier on traditionally slow days.

But that’s not to say they haven’t noticed the construction.

“It’s kind of a nuisance to the customers and that type of thing and kind of a hassle to some of the employees because it takes longer to get to work,” she said.

Tyra Bell said she avoids the area if she can help it but frequently has to drive her daughter to work at a fast food restaurant in the construction zone.

“I try to go a different route, she said.

Bell said traffic in the area seems to be worst around 5 p.m.