More Lane Shifting Leaves Area People With Mixed Feelings About Construction

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Eastbound traffic from Thomas Drive, Front Beach and Back Beach Road was shifted Tuesday night to the north side of the Thomas Drive-Highway 98 intersection.

The lane shift went much more smoothly than two weeks ago, when westbound lanes were shifted. The westbound shift was done in mid-afternoon, creating a traffic jam that had local drivers waiting up to three hours in traffic.

Business owners and people living nearby have mixed feelings about the changes.

"Right now I'm not really optimistic about anything right now," says Chinatown Manager Paul Chen.

Chen says business has been down by more than 30-percent since the lane shifting began, and he isn't too optimistic things will change with eastbound lanes being shifted Tuesday night.

Department of Transportation officials are shifting the lanes to the north side of the Thomas Drive-Highway 98 intersection so they can begin working on the intersection.

They'll also be replacing the light at Soloman Drive with the Woodlawn light, which makes some residents there pleased.

"I hope it will be better, because that will be a way for us to get out with the use of a light," says Woodlawn resident, Lynda Ebel.

But while Woodlawn residents get some relief, others feel shafted. People living in Heritage Village subdivision near the new connector road are now blocked from going left on Back Beach Road towards the bridge.

"We're worried about our property value, because there is now going to be only one way to get out of the neighborhood; only right," says Heritage Village resident, Andrea Chester.

Project officials say it's the price of progress, but some say that price may be too high.

"From what they're telling us in two or three years when everything's finished it will be great, but I'm just wondering how many of us will be left. A few of my neighbors are already gone, so I'm hoping I'm not next," says Chen.


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