Northgate Safety Improvements Project Nearly Finished, Except For New Delay

Thursday night was supposed to be a crowded night at Northgate as Aggie fans watched the Texas A&M - Louisiana Tech game.

Even though that game was postponed due to bad weather in Louisiana, Northgate is just about ready for a new round of students with some pedestrian safety improvements.

News 3 has learned the project is being delayed by a few days.

The delay is happening because some of the materials needed to finish the project haven't arrived yet including the retractable bollard barricades, pedestrian wall fence posts and some sidewalk paving but just about everything else is finished.

It's been a summer of construction woes for many of the area businesses including a longtime business owner who worries the project could kill retail for good.

It's cleanup time for Knife River contractors as the Northgate pedestrian improvement projects along University Drive in College Station comes to a close.

Clayton Howard is a sophomore at A&M and rides his bike everywhere.

He thinks the walking and biking improvements will make his travels safer now.

"I try to avoid those bike lanes just 'cause I'm not sure if someone's going to be texting or driving or not. Just kind of staying out of the car's way," said Howard.

John Raney has owned Texas Aggieland Bookstore for 43 years and has had a front row seat to seeing parallel parking disappear and other changes right out his window.

The State Representative for District 14 believes Northgate will become only bars and restaurants with retail dying off.

"Here we are at 5 o'clock on the first Thursday of school, first week of school and we don't have any customers walking up and down the street so I think we are in for a long period of time here," said John Raney.

He says many drivers don't know how to get to his back lot now while others don't know about new free parking. The week before school normally makes for 50 percent of his business.

"I don't know that I've had any specific complaints from the customers. I'll be honest I just haven't had many customers," he added.

Meanwhile Michael Trujillo at Antonio's Pizza on College Main says business is picking up again.

"It's clearing up quite a bit and it looks like it's gonna turn out pretty well," said Trujillo.

"I'm happy to see that they are finishing up though," said Clayton Howard.

And while the original deadline was to have the project finished by Friday, TxDOT tells us the $3.7 million project will be finished in a few days as soon as those last minute items come in.

It's expected to all be finished before the Florida and Texas A&M game next weekend, when thousands will descend on the area.

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