Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Business owners and residents in Irving learned of the details in a proposed plan to widen SH 183 from SH 360 to I-35E.
After a decade of research and planning, the Texas Department of Transportation unveiled its proposal to expand Airport Freeway in Irving.
The project would make improvements on the freeway from state Highway 360 to Interstate 35E.
While the plan would bring more traffic into the area when completed, some businesses are already feeling the pain of constant construction taking place outside their doors.
Suresh Reaya, who owns the Exxon gas station on the southeast intersection of Airport Freeway and Story Road, said it has been a nightmare.
"We're not even able to pay our bills," he said.
Reaya said Frontage Road has been closed since last June and he was told construction would take just one year. The construction, Reaya said, is keeping his customers from having easy access to his store.
As a result of the construction, Reaya said business has dropped drastically and he has gone from a 24-hour operation to only being open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
"I'm opening because I can't close it. I don't want to close and give an impression to the customers that I ran out of business or something," said Reaya.
The construction on Frontage Road is a precursor to the widening project on 183. The proposed plan would widen Airport Freeway from six to eight lanes. It would also add managed toll lanes down the center with prices depending on the speed of traffic.
TxDOT hosted a large room filled with curious residents and business owners on Tuesday evening.
"We're just trying to see how the development is going to go," said Sherieda McCoy, who works at a credit union center near Airport Freeway.
Since 2002, planners drafted maps and ideas of how to best widen the highway between 360 and 35E.
It's a $1.22 billion project that includes plans to acquire pieces of property along frontage roads.
TxDOT's spokesman Mark Pettit said, "We're prepared. We have our right of way staff here. They have their booklets they have their handouts, they're prepared to take names and addresses and meet with them individually and discuss the process."
While inconvenience will be unavoidable during the construction period, many at the public hearing agreed that this could be a worthwhile investment.
"I think it might be good for business and revenue, and it might bring more people into this area," said Brenday Mays, who works along Frontage Road.
Pettit said construction could start as early as next year and may take up to five years to complete.