East Austin Street is set to be completed in March 2020, but students are complaining because the shutdown has affected their commute to school. In January, construction started a $2.9 million project that will change the once two-lane road to a four- lane road with the addition of sidewalks. There will also be a new traffic signal installed at the intersection of Raguet and East Austin streets.
“Since this project has been underway during an incredibly wet year, there have been more delays and non-work days than would normally have occurred during a normal weather year,” Main Street Communications Director Amy Mehaffey said.
Some students have heard rumors about Austin Street opening up and closing back down, but this is not true.
“The road has not opened back up to be quickly shut down again,” Mehaffey said. “However, the residents who live on the street are provided a path in and out, so someone could have witnessed local traffic entering or exiting on East Austin at the Raguet intersection.”
Even though students are excited to have a new road, they are ready for it to be finished. Students living near Austin street had to change their regular morning routines to avoid getting trapped in their apartment and missing class.
“Besides the fact that the noises go on from 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m., I’ve been affected because of the parking at my apartment,” Madelynn Menke, a junior psychology major from Sugar Land said. “If I have to park at the other building, I have to get out the door within a certain time in the morning, if I need to get across to my car across Austin Street.”
The street being shut down is not the only thing affecting students’ commute to school. They have also been complaining about the issues that the temporary street signs at the intersection of North and Austin have caused.
“It being shut down has been aggravating, not only because it cuts off the flow of traffic from the West side of town to the East,” Draven Shean, a junior business administration major from Woodlands said. “But, when they put up the temporary street signs a large majority of drivers here in [Nacogdoches] either ignore them to start, or didn’t even realize that if they pulled up all the way that they couldn’t see the actual light change.”
Mehaffey encourages students to have an open mind about the project. “We are thankful for the road upgrade due to the need for larger thoroughfares that run east and west in the city limits,” Mehaffey said. “It is difficult to wait until these items are complete, but it is a great project for the community and SFA students alike. A large majority of the work done prior to the very visible parts of the road construction are utility relocations. When a road is widened each utility entity must relocate their infrastructure out of the new footprint. As a growing community, we support projects such as this and work closely with TxDOT, who maintain many roads in our community, to ensure improvements are being made to best serve our citizens.”