Business owners worry about impact from MoPac shutdown

An empty MoPac as northbound lanes are closed for construction. Nov. 29, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Juan Salinas)
An empty MoPac as northbound lanes are closed for construction. Nov. 29, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Juan Salinas)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For one week, a portion of MoPac Northbound will completely shut down beginning at 8 p.m. every night. These are closures most drivers have had to deal with for years, but now it’s impacting local businesses.

General Manager Carlos Santizo of El Arroyo worries the nightly closures will impact their dinner crowd.

“This is the first I heard about it, but I knew there was going to be some construction going on, but we don’t know exactly when,” Santizo says. “I’m glad you came in and let us know, Thursday we have dollar margaritas and we have a lot of college people coming down to our restaurant.”

Santizo fears the high traffic from re-routing off the highway will make people stay away. “If they close that area I’m sure they will find a way to come over here but it still it’s going to be kind of complicated for them to drive back over here,” Santizo said.

CTRMA crews are asking people to do just that, avoid the area.

“If there’s an alternate route you can take like Loop 360, Lamar, even I-35, its best to consider that, if it’s reasonable,” Steve Pustelnyk with CTRMA said. “Avoid this area because there probably will be delays.”

CTRMA predicts the first night delays will only be about 10-15 minutes, but could increase throughout the week.

“It’s hard to predict. They certainly will increase as the week goes on traffic tends to be heavier on Wednesday and Thursday night,” Pustelnyk says. “It will be impactful for an hour or two each night, but probably less impactful than the original plan that we had.”

For now, business owners say they’ll have to deal with it, faced with no other choice. “They say one week but who knows,” Santizo says. “I hope this will be for the benefit of everybody, that these changes will improve the traffic. If so, we’re welcome to any improvement.”

The road should be back open by 5:30 a.m. every morning, if not, contractors do face financial penalties.

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