Briarcrest Debate Continues at Councilmember's Meeting

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The debate on proposed road construction on Briarcrest Drive in Bryan continues.

Councilmember Mike Southerland hosted a citizens' meeting to discuss the multi-million dollar TxDOT proposal, which includes the addition of medians, along with some additional turn lanes.

The majority of residents voiced displeasure with the plan, saying businesses along the stretch will suffer by reduced left turns.

An estimated 42,000 drivers travel on Briarcrest each day, according to TxDOT studies. That number is near the capacity for the road, TxDOT experts say. They add that while they believe these additions will improve travel on Briarcrest, more changes, including possible expansion of the road.

But business owners along the stretch not only believe reduced left turns will drive potential customers away, but could even cause more accidents. While TxDOT has said they will include some U-turns in the plan, many critics have wondered if there won't be more accidents by drivers making those turns.

Southerland raised eyebrows by calling the meeting without coordinating with the rest of the council or staff. But he says his effort was simply to gather information and opinions.

"When I ran for office, I said that I would listen, understand and take action on the citizens' requests," Southerland said, "and the only way to understand what the citizens want to do is to talk to them and listen to them, and I don't need staff here to do that."

Discussion and a possible vote on the issue could come at the March 27 city council meeting.