North Texas

Community Rallies to Save Colleyville BBQ Restaurant Amid Crippling Construction Slowdown

Road work on Highway 26 has hurt many businesses in the area

A major construction project is bringing business to a virtual standstill in one North Texas city. It's happening on Highway 26 in Colleyville.

A longtime business that's done a lot to support the community, Red Barn Bar-B-Que, is right in the middle of the mess and struggling to stay afloat, and they are not alone.

Highway 26 is the main drag through Colleyville's business district and it is lined with construction equipment for a $40 million Texas Department of Transportation project to widen the road to six lanes. It's been going on for about a year, with a year and a half to go, and many businesses worry they won't be there to see the end.

At Red Barn Bar-B-Que where the meat is smoked slowly, patience is a virtue. But it has its limits.

"I would just like to get it sped up," said owner Von Husbands.

Husbands says the construction mess outside his front door has turned customers away.

"When they put the orange barrels up, it was like somebody flipped a light switch. It was 20 percent overnight," Husbands said.

A year later, he says business is down 35 to 40 percent.

"We're going month to month," said Husbands.

The maze of TxDOT cones stretches from John McCain Road to just past Brown Trail, the exact layout of Colleyville's biggest concentration of local business.

Modish Boutique opened just a few months before construction began.

"Based on our first couple of months, I would definitely say traffic was down at least 50 percent," said owner Morgan Fenton.

Without an established customer base, Fenton is thinking of moving her family-owned business off Highway 26.

"There's still quite a bit of time left on the project and it's a matter of holding on until then," Fenton said. “Do we want to hold out, can we hold out?”

"This is a big deal for our businesses," said Colleyville Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Lindamood.

City leaders have been helping where they can, offering businesses $1,000 grants for advertising and mounting a competition to collect receipts from local Colleyville businesses.

"This is our main lifeblood right here,” Lindamood said. “These business are so important."

And on Thursday Haltom City Police put out a Facebook plea for customers to stop in to Red Barn Bar-B-Que. The business has long supported local police and fire, and has even bought vests for police K-9 units.

"If I can afford it, I'll give back," said Husbands.

Now he needs a hand to keep the lights on and the brisket hot.

"We're not asking for sob stories, it's a fact," Husbands said.

TxDOT said there were some delays early on in the project because of utility issues but they are on-track to finish the work on time by winter of 2019.

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