Phase two of Buchanan construction is underway

Phase two of Buchanan construction is underway (Photo by Kendra Hall ABC 7).

Buchanan Street in downtown Amarillo is under construction again as of Tuesday. The street was torn up months ago to add in brick crosswalks, so many were wondering if something had gone wrong to bring the crews back so soon.

It turns out there are two phases to this project. ABC 7 reported a story in May about drivers who were upset with the aftermath of the first project. They said roads were uneven due to the brick crosswalks that were added. That will soon be fixed, but it may be difficult to maneuver in the meantime.

In a grant-funded project through TxDOT with the city's participation, brick crosswalks were added to give Buchanan a better look. The pavement on Buchanan is now uneven from the project, so construction on the street has begun again.

"What we're doing now is the overlay of the pavement in relation to the previous street-scape improvements," said Floyd Hartman, Director of Capital Projects and Development Engineering for the City of Amarillo. "This is the existing need of pavement to be replaced or repaired and under the TxDOT contract, the city of Amarillo is responsible for maintenance on Buchanan."

Hartman says it is to "replace bad pavement that exists and tie in the rough spots from the previous project."

He says this was part of the plan the whole time, but it was not included in the original contract that the paving would need to be addressed at that time.

"The planning component of this project started in 2009, so they didn't know exactly what the condition of the paving would be done would be when they got completed with the street-scape project," said Hartman. "Obviously it needed some maintenance and repairs and we're doing that now."

ABC 7 spoke with several residents who were turned around and confused by the detours and frustrated that the road is closed once again.

"Very frustrating," said Samantha Kelly, Amarillo resident. "Now it's probably going to take me 20 minutes to get to where I need to when normally it would take maybe 10 or 5 minutes."

Right now, where I-27 turns into Buchanan is completely shut down and so is 11th and Buchanan.

"I have to drive in it and it's awful," said Michelle Schale, Amarillo resident. "It delays you, you have to leave almost an hour earlier from your house just to get to your job, and I work in the afternoon. I'd hate to see it in the morning time."

Schale says she does not think it is worth it. She says the road was fine the way it was before the street-scaping months ago.

But the city says it will only be a three-week project if it goes as planned. They will re-open 11th once it is finished, then start on 10th and Buchanan. Once that area is done, they will open 10th and work on 9th and so on.

"The project will provide a better, smoother ride for Buchanan street and improve the existing condition of the pavement and provide a longer-lasting street," said Hartman.

The original street-scaping project was funded through grant money, but this project is funded by the city through the maintenance contract with TxDOT. And they are asking drivers to remain patient through this project and consider leaving earlier if drivers typically use Buchanan.

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