Arlington

Project could create traffic mess in downtown Arlington for next two years

An artist's rendering of what the Abram Street rebuild will look like once it is completed.
An artist's rendering of what the Abram Street rebuild will look like once it is completed. City of Arlington

The latest step to transform downtown Arlington will also be a painful one.

On Monday, a Dallas contractor officially started work on the two-year, $26.1 million project to rebuild Abram Street between Cooper and Collins streets.

It's scheduled for completion by March 2020, and is designed to help the downtown area feel like, well, more of a downtown.

A new downtown plaza will be created between City Hall and the Levitt Pavilion.

There's hope it will create a similar feel to Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth, though it won’t be as large or as ornate. It will also be open to vehicular traffic but can be closed for special events or concerts at the Levitt Pavilion.

At first, the impacts could be minimal, but as the project moves forward there will be lane closures lasting up to 75 days, said Susan Schrock, a city spokeswoman. The impacts will first be seen closer to the intersection of Cooper and Abram streets, Schrock said.

For businesses along Abram Street like J. Gilligan's Bar & Grill, the impending closures could impact the bottom line, said the popular eatery's owner, Randy Ford.

"It is a concern anytime it takes two years to tear up a street," Ford said. "I think we'll be just fine because people can get to us from South Street. It's not like people drive down Abram Street all the time to get to us."

He does have concerns that some Texas Rangers fans will go elsewhere rather than deal with the construction to get to his business.

But Ford said he worries about some of the other businesses along Abram Street.

"For some of those smaller ones, I'm sure that can be a real challenge, particularly for people on the north side of the street," he said. "It will be harder to reach those businesses."

The contractor, Rebcon Inc. of Dallas, will be given a bonus if it finishes the project ahead of schedule. At a meeting last week about the project, Ford said businesses were assured that drivers would be able to reach them.

The city has two websites, www.arlington-tx.gov/abram and downtownarlington.org/news/myabram/, to provide updates to residents.

The city of Arlington is proposing a $10 million renovation of the Arlington Convention Center, to transform it into an esports venue. The 100,000 square-foot Esports Stadium would hold up to 2,000 spectators and be the first of its kind in Texas.

Trucks hauling dirt for the $1.1 billion stadium will continue for another 3 to 4 weeks. But fans will start to see the new stadium emerging out of the ground over the next year.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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