Transportation

East End Business Owners Weigh In On Overpass Construction

Metro is moving forward with construction on the Harrisburg Overpass, a key part of the East End rail line. But at a community meeting Tuesday, some business owners expressed concern that traffic disruptions could hurt profits.

East End light rail line tracks
The East End Rail Line won’t be completed until Metro can get the trains over the freight rail tracks at Hughes Street.

 

Hughes Street
The Harrisburg overpass will take the East End light rail line over the freight rail tracks at Hughes Street

Metro public meetings
Metro is holding public meetings to discuss the Harrisburg overpass project with East End residents and business owners.

The Harrisburg Overpass is the final piece of the puzzle to Metro’s Green Line. The East End light rail runs along Harrisburg Street, and the overpass will connect it to the Magnolia Park Transit Center.

But some neighborhood business owners fear they’ll suffer losses during construction.

Mark Rodriguez owns a used car lot on Harrisburg. He says road closures will make his shop harder to access.

“Now you’re going to get this wall where they’re going to stop the traffic,” Rodriguez says. “I mean, it’s going to hurt any business. It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”  

Some are willing to compromise.

Jarred Mick owns a pawn shop on the 5800 block of Harrisburg. He says he can work around road closures, but he’ll need help coping with potential losses.

Metro is considering offering financial assistance to help businesses get through the construction period.

Mick says for him, that aid is essential.

“It’s almost to the point where if I get it, I make it,” Mick says. “If I don’t get it, I don’t make it. That’s how crucial it is for my business.”

Metro’s Board of Directors is expected to discuss offering business assistance at an upcoming meeting.

Construction on the overpass could begin as early as next week. 

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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