Tram Road closure causes headaches in Vidor

Tram Road closure causes headaches in Vidor

Vidor Mayor Robert Viator is asking for patience from citizens impacted by the closure of East Tram Road due to road damage caused by construction as Walmart expands its existing store at the location into a Supercenter – a $15.4 million project.

Vidor City Manager Mike Kunst sent notice in March that the road would be closed for approximately 7 to 10 days as dump trucks brought about 8,000 loads of dirt to the construction site via East Tram. A short time later, the city sent notice stating the road would be closed indefinitely due to potentially hazardous conditions.

“For safety reasons, we decided to keep the street closed to through traffic,” said Kunst. “It may stay closed until the project is pretty much completed.”

He said Walmart estimated the project would be completed in January 2018, weather and other factors permitting.

The closure has caused some consternation among citizens who previously used East Tram to bypass Main Street or access the Junior High School from certain areas of the city – or to go to Walmart.

A woman shopping at Vidor Walmart on June 13 said it takes her much longer to get to the store from her home on North Tram with East Tram closed.

“I used to be able to drive down East Tram to get to Walmart, to the bank, or whatever,” she said. “Now, I have to drive down 1132 to get to 105 and go that way. It’s quite a bit longer.”

People driving from Highway 12 can still take North Tram all the way to 1132, but they cannot turn onto East Tram from their end of North Tram, either.

People coming from Main Street cannot access East Tram beyond the roadblock set up after Walmart’s second driveway there, but they can turn into the business from East Tram or Main Street.

Kunst said the dump trucks hauling dirt to the site and other construction vehicles had caused a bit of damage to East Tram, and the city felt it would be best to err on the side of caution and that closing the roadway would “prevent further wear and tear” caused by through-traffic.

“We didn’t close the road for Walmart,” Mayor Viator asserted. “We closed the road to keep residents safe. We have been repairing potholes. We put metal plates over some of the potholes temporarily. It becomes a safety hazard for citizens in normal passenger cars.”

Viator said Walmart entered into an agreement with the city at the beginning of the project to repair damages to the roadway caused by construction. Viator added that the company would be providing its own drainage, and diverting water to land they purchased north of the construction site to re-create wetlands displaced by the construction.

Viator said, once completed, the new Supercenter would be a boon to the community, providing dozens of new jobs and attracting shoppers and travelers to the growing city.

 

“There’s always pain with growth,” said the mayor. “This company is making a pretty big investment in the city, $15.4 million. That is good for the community.”

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