Business Owners Upset Over Big Spring Reliever Route Plan

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING- Big Spring is growing like nearly every other West Texas city and fast. The main corridor through the city is Highway 87 (Gregg Street). It has its fair share of traffic, so the Texas Department of Transportation wants to build a truck route around the city.

Terry Wegmen with the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation tells us, "The main issue is really a safety issue to get the big trucks and so forth off that corridor."

The route will cost $148 million and will take three years to build.

Up until Tuesday night, the route was planned to have controlled access, meaning it would only have a few entry and exit points. However, that idea didn't sit well with everyone. So, TxDOT is trying to change the route so that it has uncontrolled access.

Abilene TxDOT Public Information Officer Darah Waldrip says, "It's mainly to accommodate property owners along the route. We don't want to leave them landlocked."

However, there are a number of businesses throughout the city who are not onboard with the idea. They think the reliever route is going to hurt the economy.

Homer Wilkerson operates Herman's Restaurant on Gregg Street. He says, "It's not going to be good for Big Spring. If you look at Gregg Street, you'll see that it's the biggest revenue generator this town has."

Wilkerson adds that the route will help ease traffic, but with every boom, comes a bust.

"There's hills and valleys in the oil business and right now we're on top of a mountain and I hope we stay there for a long time but history has proven that we don't," Wilkerson said.