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Kirby Drive pain to be prolonged

Miya brings the bad news.

The Kirby re-construction is a four-phase process. Phases one through three are basically going according to schedule. But phase four is a problem. Though work on the final phase isn’t scheduled for a while, we’ve learned the process is getting delayed even more.

Construction on Kirby near the Rice Village may be inconvenient, but at least it’s underway. A few blocks north near Bissonnet and Kirby, the construction timeline is about to get pushed back.

“You always wish things were planned better,” said Ron Pickett, who owns Charisma Car Wash. Pickett and owners of several neighboring businesses just learned that the contractor who did the street survey for the city made a major measuring mistake. To complete the Kirby reconstruction, the city will now need to take 15 feet of his property along the curb line.

“It makes me feel very nervous because it will be highly detrimental to my business,” he said.

The city will now split up phase four of the project into two parts. The portion south of Bissonnet will go on as scheduled with no delays. However, the area north of Bissionnet needs to be redesigned, and that could take a while.

“We’ll continue to maintain it and patch it, but we’ll redesign it to take into account the additional right of way,” said Houston city councilmember Anne Clutterbuck.

Fifteen feet is a lot. I don’t know how such a mistake could happen, but that’s a huge impact. And a good illustration of why we can’t widen streets like Kirby.

This could get very ugly. And man, are things snarled in the Rice Village area, where the northern end of construction-induced lane blockages are. I have officially sworn off driving in the area for the foreseeable future. Those of you who have no choice in the matter, you have my deepest sympathies.

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