COPPERAS COVE — Despite new detours and missing half of its new lanes, Farm-to-Market 2657 is on schedule to be finished by next summer. For area residents, the roadway can’t open soon enough.
The Texas Department of Transportation closed the intersection of FM 2808 and FM 2657 about a week ago for excavation, embankment work and culvert extensions in the area to make room for two southbound lanes.
“Drivers will still have access to the whole length of 2808,” said Darah Waldrip, a TXDOT spokeswoman. “It is just that intersection, and that is the only area that is impacted.”
In the detour’s first couple of days, Christensen’s Grocery on FM 2808 and 2657 was almost completely blocked from traffic, said Richard Lord, an employee.
“The first day we lost about 62 percent of our business, but it has gotten a little better,” Lord said.
People started driving around the detour to access the convenience store and service station, Lord said. TxDOT also changed the detour to take traffic through the parking lot, which has helped business, even though it forced the owners to place speed bumps on the property to slow down traffic.
“People now seem to have gotten used to it,” Lord said.
Residents such as Ian Tessier said the construction has its pros and cons.
“It’s really bad,” he said. “I have to change my route every day because stuff is blocked off.”
But several portions of county road have been replaced, which is nice, Tessier said.
Detours tend to cause some inconvenience, Waldrip said. People should be patient and follow them for the contractors’ safety and their own.
“Every traffic switch is an adjustment,” she said. “I was told this week that everyone seems to have adapted to this current change, and I think everything is going about the way we would expect. It’s kind of a fluid situation. Things do change quite often, and drivers have gotten used to that, and it has been going quite well.”
The detour at FM 2808 and 2657 is expected to last about two months, TxDOT said.
Hewitt-based Big Creek Construction, the project’s contractor, is working on the southern portion of the site, building the second half-width of the future roadway, said Bart Fris, TxDOT area engineer.
Both south- and northbound traffic currently use what will become two lanes of northbound traffic once the project is completed.
Started in September 2012, the $7.5 million project is reconstructing the former 28-foot-wide, two-lane surface and expanding it to a 75-foot-wide, five-lane street for 2.6 miles from U.S. Highway 190 to County Road 4744.
The project is about 60 percent complete, according to TxDOT’s website.
While Tessier doesn’t believe the project will finish on time, he said it really doesn’t matter to him.
“I’ll be in college by the time they finish,” he said.