As Colleyville residents and businesses enter the holiday season, the city is embarking on a more than two-year construction project along one of the city’s busiest shopping stretches—expanding SH 26 from John McCain Road to Brown Trail.
The $38.2 million Texas Department of Transportation project was originally expected to begin in the summer, but due to utility relocations was delayed, said James Hubbard, Colleyville SH 26 Phase 2 Project Coordinator.
However, he said the delayed construction start date, which was Nov. 7, has a silver lining because construction will not interfere with holiday shopping and festivities as much as it would have if it had started on time.
“If we had started in the summer, [construction] would have been really ramped up in terms of lane closures and major construction,” Hubbard said. “A lot of the beginning work that people are going to notice is the orange barrels and cones. It’s not going to be a bunch of bulldozers coming in and pushing piles of concrete immediately. So although we are starting in the holiday season, it will give us time to get used to what this will look like and plan more as construction slowly ramps up.”
The project, which is intended to improve mobility and safety, consists of widening SH 26—also known as Colleyville Boulevard—from four lanes with a continuous left-turn lane to six lanes with raised-curb medians with left-turn bays, continuous sidewalks and improved signals. The project is expected to be complete in 2019.
Throughout the coming weeks motorists can expect to see construction activity, including placement of traffic-control devices, installation of temporary traffic signals, surveying crews, tree removal and installation of storm drainage.
The contractor, Jagoe-Public Co. of Denton, plans to have a daily lane closure along the corridor at Brown and another near John McCain from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this month. The contractor will mostly be working on new asphalt for traffic switches for the remainder of the year.
Hubbard said if the highway is reduced to one lane on each side of the road, it would be during the night.
In 2012 work began on Phase 1 of the project, from John McCain northeast to Brumlow Avenue/ Pool Road. The project was expected to be completed in 2014 but did not reach completion until 2016.
Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton said there are several things the city is doing to make sure Phase 2 does not have the same completion delay.
“This particular contract was set up as a milestone construction contract, which means there’s four different milestones that provide incentives if the contractor beats those milestones and disincentives if they don’t. And that was put in to ensure that it was done efficiently, effectively and doesn’t drag out.”
The four milestones are directly linked to the four stages of the project. Before the contractor begins on the milestones, there will be pre-phase work done.
Pre-phase 1, which is the work the contractor will be doing in November, will take place from Brown to Glade Road and from Glade to John McCain.
Impact on businesses
With around 400 businesses either having direct or indirect entry access points from the construction area, the city decided to have a dedicated staff resource to serve as liaison among TxDOT, the contractor and the businesses. Hubbard is that person.
Hubbard said because Phase 2 will run through an area in the city where most of the city’s retail is located, an action plan is needed to help businesses transition and survive the construction.
“We started a community outreach plan in February of this year,” Hubbard said. “It’s a very fluid document because we know we will learn things as construction progresses, and we want to be able to modify that plan to best serve our businesses as well as our citizens. And honestly we want to serve those people who are just passing through. It is a state highway so we are here to serve everybody, but our primary focus would be businesses and citizens.”
One of those businesses along the construction route is Azure Dental, a new business that had only been open for six months when Phase 2 construction started in November. The business is located in the shopping center that contains Market Street.[totalpoll id="201675"]
Owner Dr. Aditi Shah said although she knew the project was going to happen, she said she wish she would have had more notice about the start date.
“I read about it when I first opened my office, so I knew it was coming,” she said. “So now this kind of comes as a surprise to me that it is starting [so soon]. “I hope that it will work out over the next two years because that could be a huge impact on our business. I know eventually it’s going to influence the traffic flow to the area. Being a new business it’s really important that the traffic flow remains positive.”
Rebecca Hankins, who is on the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce board of directors and works for Nationwide on SH 26, said she is also concerned.
“I know a lot of these businesses along 26 picked their locations because of the visibility,” she said. “I’m worried about the impact the general traffic flow might have on these businesses, especially if they are a mom and pop that relies on walk-in traffic.”
Hubbard said he as well as city staff will be working closely with businesses to make sure that they maintain access and visibility.
“We really want to be here to serve them,” he said.