The City of Abilene is working on concluding a $1.7 million, yearlong construction project on one of the city’s most important roads.
Pine Street is getting a face lift after years of service. New pavement and curb work is being done to the street many visitors take into downtown Abilene. A median, built to accommodate trees and bushes, has also been built through the road.
Pine Street stretches across downtown, to Hendrick Hospital, past Hardin-Simmons University and up I-20.
Landscaping will be one of the next priorities in shaping the new look for Pine. Trees are expected to line the median as well as smaller bushes so drivers do not have their vision of the roads impaired. Extra curb and weed work will go along with landscaping.
Chad Carter, Abilene’s city engineer, said Pine Street is in need of some work, given the age of the street. Pine was built in 1881, making it one of the oldest streets in Abilene.
“You got a street that is 130 years old – it’s going to need some improvements,” Carter said. “We are trying to provide safety improvements, which are a benefit to the citizens.”
Not everyone likes the new changes to Pine, however, particularly the median. Raymond and Carroll Hall, a married couple, like to meet each other at Subway on Pine Street everyday for lunch. Raymond drives south while Carroll travels north from work. The new median extends too far out for Carroll to drive into the entrance of Subway anymore; instead she now has to make a u-turn to get to the parking area.
“That turn has been a problem for us.” Hall said. “Someone really needs to fix that. It’s a hassle.”
Hazel Hash said she has trouble with getting into the Lawrence Brothers store when coming in from the south. Hash used to be able to pull into the store with ease, but now the median is blocking her normal pull-in spot.
“I used to just get right into the Lawrence Brothers for gas. Now I have to turn around in the intersection,” Hash said. “It didn’t kill me, but I have noticed the change.”
Carter said that area of the median is being adjusted to accommodate that issue.
Businesses seem to be impacted by the median as well. Lucas Almonza, Subway sandwich artist, said he has noticed a decline in the number of sandwiches being made per day. Almonza said the Pine Street Subway is making about 120 less sandwiches per day, a decline he credits to the new median.
Concerns like these have been taken into the consideration of Carter and the construction team. The vision for Pine Street is to be one of the premier streets in Abilene, in looks and in safety.
“Our hope is that the citizens will be pleased and that it will serve them for a long time,” Carter said.