Years of TxDOT construction takes toll on 53-year-old Houston auto shop

Rosie Nguyen Image
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Endless TxDot construction takes toll on 53-year-old Houston auto shop, owner fears his business will go under
Business is dwindling at an alarming rate for a Northwest Houston auto shop, whose owner claims has taken a hit from years of TxDOT construction.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Business is dwindling at an alarming rate for a northwest Houston auto repair shop, whose owner claims has taken a hit from years of endless TxDOT construction around their property.

Kent Edwards owns Motorcars Limited, which specializes in servicing and repairing European cars on the northwest side of Houston. He founded the company about 52 years ago, which has been at its current location on Hempstead Road near Washington Avenue since the mid-1980s.

"At that time, this property happened to be at the center of the population in Houston. If we were going to attract customers from all over the city, this was the place with easy access," Edwards said.

But the easy public access began eroding in 2018 when Edwards said TxDOT started construction on the south side of Hempstead Road. Things worsened in February 2023 when excavators dug out the roads leading into their parking lot and blocked it with concrete barriers.

Now, drivers have to take a detour that loops around Katy Road and through the parking lot of the TxDOT maintenance facility next door to get to Motorcars Limited. Edwards expressed that the new, complicated route has deterred customers from his business and caused them to miss shipments from delivery companies.

"We've had customers break down and start crying when we're trying to guide them over the phone. It's hard to see. It's hard to navigate. It's hard to come and go in safely. You're dealing with high-speed traffic going over the overpass, and you have to almost slow down to a crawl to make the turn," Edwards said.

To this day, Edwards claims he has still not received a clear timeline of when the construction project will be completed and said he has not seen any crews working on the road for a whole year. He shared that part of his retirement plan was to sell the company eventually but laments that no buyers have been interested due to the mess.

"Every morning that I come into this business, I am livid and almost unstable. I am so angry because I see my retirement, my business of 53 years going down the tube, and no one helping me resolve this problem out here," Edwards said.

In a statement to ABC13 on Tuesday, a spokesperson with TxDOT wrote:

"TxDOT always maintained an open line of communication with Mr. Edwards and fully coordinated the roadway construction activities with him and provided up-to-date information about the progress around the vicinity of his business.

TxDOT always provides an access to a property affected by its roadway construction. This is no exception to TxDOTs practice for Mr. Edwards situation. TxDOT has removed Mr. Edwards existing driveway and replaced it with a much wider driveway to keep him pleased. TxDOT, also installed numerous advance signs on all possible routes which guide his customers and delivery trucks to his business. Mr. Edwards business access has never been blocked.

Based on current schedule provided by the contractor, James Construction Groups, they are planning to finish the construction by August 2024 contingent upon weather."

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