EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Streetcar Project will shut down parts of Mesa near UTEP as its construction continues through the summer.
Starting June 19 both Glory Road and Baltimore Drive will be shut down leading up to Mesa Street for two weeks. Glory Road will be closed from Oregon to Mesa, with Baltimore being shut off from Stanton to Mesa.
The closure, which is projected to last from around June 19 to July 5, will be one of the final road closures needed to complete the streetcar project.
Mesa Street will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction after the first phase starting the week of July 5, as the side streets remain closed and rails are added to the outside lanes of Mesa for three weeks.
After that, Mesa will have its lanes changed, the work moving to the inside lanes as the outside lanes are opened to traffic from about July 26 to around August 23.
While the closures are estimates, business owners along Mesa ABC-7 spoke with said they were nervous about road and lane closures cutting off customers to their restaurants.
"The freeway is already tough. People get on the freeway, and if an accident happens people get on Mesa. If Mesa becomes a parking lot, I don't make money. I don't make money unless people come buy cupcakes," said Joshua Safford, owner of Smallcakes.
THE PHOTOS BELOW SHOW HOW TRAFFIC WILL BE AFFECTED DURING THE THREE PHASES:
Other restaurant managers are already preparing for the impact, some saying they plan on boosting and promoting delivery services to make sure customers can get their food without dealing with the traffic.
"You know, if I have to I'll put a tent out in the middle of the median and I'll sell cupcakes and water from a table," Safford said.
The streetcar project managers did explain the Mesa work is purposefully being set to start in the summer after all graduations are over, to minimize the impact it will have on UTEP students and those who are working in and around the university.
While some restaurant owners are asking for the project to be run 24 hours a day, project managers say they'll work the hours the concrete itself allows them to.
"It probably won't be 24 hour work, because it really doesn't gain a whole lot in time, primarily because of the cure time, but they will be working long shifts, and if necessary, 24 hour shifts," said Gilbert Gardner, the project manager for the streetcars.