A construction project on Old Bastrop Highway is making it difficult for a local business owner to stay profitable. Hi Sign Brewing opened on that stretch of road 16 months ago.
Mark Phillippe said since opening the brewery, he's been gaining traction with customers in the area, but, recently, he hit a roadblock. “So, right as the summer's about to pick up and we were hoping to see some increased visibility and business, it was sort of a pretty big letdown to think that this is going to be closed,” Phillippe said.
Mark always knew there were plans for construction along the 183 corridor, but he didn't know just how much it would impact his business. “That's going to be really difficult, it's going to be potentially catastrophic for our taproom business,” said Phillippe.
Now that construction has started on Old Bastrop Highway, the number of people visiting the brewery is dwindling. “Plenty of people have called and said, ‘I'm at this road,’ and you kind of try to walk them through it, and they'll just say, ‘Alright, well, maybe we'll see you,’ and I know that just means they're going to go to the place they know how to get to,” Phillippe said.
Steve Pustelnyk, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority director of community relations, said the long-planned project to connect Old Bastrop Highway to a new frontage road system will take time.
“When we give construction timelines, we're very vague because those can vary based on weather and availability of work crews and what not. So this area here, we expect to be done in nine months to a year, but it could be a little longer, could be a little shorter,” Pustelnyk said.
Once the project is complete, Pustelnyk said it will be an improvement for businesses and customers alike. “It'll eventually be a little more accessible and a little safer to get to than it is today,” said Pustelnyk.
Mark said, in the meantime, because of the long detour and pile of dirt blocking his sign, surviving the project will be difficult, but he's hopeful that in the end his struggle to attract customers will pay off.
“We're just hoping that they can do their jobs quickly and effectively and, in the end, my hope is that it will lead to better access for us and for our customers,” Phillippe said.