End in sight for East Memphis construction nightmare

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The construction chaos on one of Memphis' busiest streets is about to end.

When MLGW ripped the road open to install new pipes underneath Highland Street, it created issues.  There have been traffic back-ups, blocked entrances to Poplar Plaza and potholes galore.

But the word from a utility spokesperson late Wednesday is that the project wraps up this week.

"It's been rough," said Memphis driver Brian Kellett, "because I get on Sam Cooper a lot.  So I'm having to go through that construction."

For months now, Highland between Poplar and Sam Cooper has been a mess, a sea of orange barrels and metal plates covering gaping holes in the ground.

"It's bumpy," said Memphis driver Anthony Morris, "and congested."

Morris is ready for it to end.  So is Montrellus Owsley.

"It popped three of my tires," said Owsley, "when I was trying to turn on the street.  It was just full of metal parts."

Owsley, an employee at the Kroger at Poplar and Highland, drives this stretch every day.  Tuesday night, he got not one, but three flat tires as he turned out of Poplar Plaza onto Highland, hitting those dreaded metal grates.

"You don't want to hear what was going through my mind," he told WMC Action News 5.  "Just know it was a lot of curse words in that time frame."

MLGW crews have been putting in new gas mains.  The project started last year.  A utility spokesperson says the work will be completed this Friday, May 25.  And Friday can't come soon enough for Anthony Morris.

"Finally!" he said.  "It'll clear up a lot of traffic and be better on my tires."

And with three new tires on his ride, Montrellus Owsley is more than ready for this traffic nightmare to end.

"I'd like to say thank you to MLGW," he said, "and please do a good job."

MLGW said once the construction is done, the road will be repaired by June 1st.  Repaired means that potholes will be patched.

The City of Memphis handles repaving and a spokesperson said the city does not have a firm date yet on when Highland will get repaved.

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