Construction to build pedestrian friendly roads
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Northgate is a district located just north of Texas A&M University that is known for its combination of businesses, residences, churches and student nightlife. In total, the district spans approximately 145 acres, bounded by Wellborn Road to the west, South College Avenue to the east, the College Station city limits to the north and University Drive to the south.
With the constant influx of students each year, construction is an ongoing process necessary to keep the city of College Station, as well as the University, up to date and thriving. However, current construction on University Drive and College Main Drive is making access to one of the most vibrant parts of the city more difficult.
“The FM 60 Northgate Project is primarily a pedestrian improvement project,” said Bobby Colwell, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT. “Coordination between TxDOT, City of College Station and Texas A&M enabled the Houston St/College Main corridor to become a pedestrian mall thereby removing vehicular traffic at the University Drive
intersection with these two roads.”
Current construction taking place on Northgate includes widening of the Northgate sidewalk, tentative installation of a unique decorative traffic rail for safety, as well as raised medians on University Drive. Additionally, the roadway is projected to get a new driving surface.
Construction on these projects began Nov. 7, 2011 and is estimated to be completed Aug. 31, 2012, although some projects have already reached completion.
“Under this project, the ramps connecting University Drive to Wellborn Road were reconstructed with concrete pavement and a new signalized intersection was installed at Boyett Street to accommodate turning movements into the Northgate area,” Colwell said.
The total cost of this project is $3.7 million with funding coming primarily from TxDOT; however the City of College Station and Texas A&M University shared some costs.
With this construction, businesses located on Northgate are finding their customers are detoured throughout blocks of orange construction tape.
“It’s tough to tell right now because enrollment is down for summer classes but it definitely puts a damper on our afternoon business, for sure. Especially after two o’clock, when everyone’s done with school, no one comes over here,” said Jay Pisco, manager of Antonio’s Pizzeria.
Antonio’s Pizzeria is located right in the midst of construction, off on College Main Drive.
“Just as far as getting to us, it’s kind of a maze,” said Pisco, in reference to customers locating the local pizzeria.
Construction on Northgate has left some students frustrated as well.
“The construction has made campus life a lot harder than it needs to be and it has made driving to Northgate and getting to the actual bars a complete hassle,” said Kimberly Borges, senior history major and avid Northgate patron. “I wish it would just hurry up, or not do anything. I didn’t see what the problem was in the first place.”