Central Lubbock residents and businesses are preparing for a major overhaul on one of the most highly-traveled streets in town.
Two miles of roadway along 34th Street will spend the next two years undergoing construction. As traffic slows down during that time, local businesses are hopeful their customer traffic will maintain it's current flow.
From Indiana to Avenue Q, 34th Street will undergo several changes. Currently, there are potholes, cracks and distressed roadway. Public Works Director Marsha Reed says construction crews plan to fix those problems.
"We feel like this project, once it's complete, will provide for a much safer traffic flow," Reed said.
Reed says that particular stretch of road sees more traffic than most other roads in Lubbock. That's why several business owners along the route feel this construction is more than cosmetic. Many feel it's necessary to keep their shops open.
Kyra Jenkins, president of the 34th Street Business Association, says businesses along 34th desperately need good roads to maintain their business.
"Being predominately mom and pop shops, locally owned and operated, it's the lifeline. If we do not have support, these businesses will be hard-pressed to stay in business," Jenkins said.
Chuck Baker is one of the newest business owners on the street. His store "My Home and Hearth" opened its doors one month ago. He says he knew the construction was coming, and was prepared for it.
"We knew about it when we went into the lease, but we think it's a good thing for 34th Street business and we're looking forward to it, actually," Baker said.
Baker says he fully expects his business could slow down a bit, but says he sees it as a short-term problem. He doesn't expect the roads to be too bad, and neither does Jenkins.
"I think the traffic, while it might be reduced by a lane here or there, I think there's still going to be good traffic flow up and down the street," Jenkins said.
Jenkins and Baker are both optimistic, hoping the construction fixes the bumpy roads, while providing a smooth ride to profit.
"I think when they get this done, it's going to be a big shot in the arm to the business on 34th Street," Baker said.
City officials say the construction is set to officially kick off in mid-March. They plan to do the project in phases along 34th Street from Avenue Q to Indiana.
Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11