ADDISON (CBSDFW.COM) - If you are one of the many North Texans planning to travel for the holidays, or even if you're just heading out to do some holiday shopping, your journey just got a little bit easier. The North Texas Tollway Authority has a gift for drivers!
No, you still have to pay for rides on DFW area tollways. But those rides might be less of a headache.
Crews are putting the brakes on tollway construction ahead of the holiday season. The NTTA is temporarily halting most work including the widening project from the Frisco line south to Belt Line Road in north Dallas. This will mean that the number of lane and road closures during both weekend and weekday hours will be very limited.
Some workers might still be at construction sites, but the NTTA promises that there will be no major closures. Most crews that are still on the job during the holidays will be working overnight, when far fewer people are impacted.
This all comes as welcome news for shoppers, and even better information for businesses located near the construction zones, such as Serenity Salon & Spa in Plano. The roadblocks have made things difficult for their customers, and clipped business by as much as 30 percent in recent months.
"We have clients who are extremely late -- sometimes up to 45 minutes -- because of the traffic," stated salon manager Sheila Humphrey. "In a lot of occasions, they have to cancel their appointments."
"I was late," said customer Savannah Cotran. "I had to call them and tell them I was stuck in traffic and I was going to be late."
"We don't want any major closures," said NTTA spokesman Michael Rey, "nothing that impacts who are our partners. These are folks who've invested in being near the tollway."
Workers actually delayed some parts of the construction projects until January in anticipation of the holiday stoppage, so that projects would not be suspended with portions of the roadways shut down. The NTTA's holiday gift will begin later this week, with construction ramping up again early next year.
"I'm really grateful they're doing that," Humphrey added. "I think for all of us, it's just been really difficult to get on and off the tollway here."
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