Pictured: Street closing around William Adams because of ongoing construction has made for some traffic delays before and after school. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Closing part of construction of new campus

Mauricio Julian Cuellar, Alice Echo-News Journal

Street closures due to the construction of the new William Adams Middle School have made the area around Third Street more congested during morning and afternoon traffic, but Alice Police Department officials say the traffic is running smoothly and is being monitored on a daily basis.

The head of APD's Traffic Division, Lt. Santiago Soliz, said that traffic around WAMS has run pretty smoothly so far. "We've been monitoring it during the mornings and the evenings," Soliz said. "We had one day this week when we asked people to drop off on Fourth Street and Dickey Street, to make it much easier to go in and out of there. People are doing it pretty much on their own now."

One idea being considered is opening Dickey Street alongside WAMS to two-way traffic. The road is currently a one-way street, serving bus traffic for loading and unloading students. Soliz said changing the roadway at this tie would be difficult. The city would have to commission traffic surveys to look into the feasibility of such a move. At this point, Soliz said the city is leaving the road the way it is, and the department is stepping up their monitoring of Third Street.

For safety reasons, Soliz said parents should not stop to pick up their kids in the middle of the street. "The child could be struck by a vehicle, or it could lead to a massive accident involving the parent's vehicle and multiple other vehicles behind them in a chain reaction," Soliz said.

Parents were parked early alongside Third Street on Wednesday afternoon. With the increased traffic, they say they are aware that to get a parking space means coming early to the school. Some drivers arrived as early as 30 minutes before the last bell.

J.J. Bernal, an Alice firefighter, waited patiently for his son to get out of class. "It does get a little congested out here, but APD has been helping out, directing traffic. With the new school construction here, we all have to work together to get the traffic moving," Bernal said.

"I think as the year progresses, parents will get used to the situation, timewise, and traffic will run a little better."

Nora Gonzalez also waited in the afternoon for her son to get out of class. She said she was upset at first about the tearing down of WAMS, her alma mater. But Gonzalez said the students do need a new building. She used to park on the side of WAMS to wait, but since the road was closed in the back of the campus, all the traffic has now moved to the front of the school, Gonzalez said.

"It's probably going to get worse out here as the year goes on, since we can't pick them up from the back anymore," Gonzalez said. "I came by early today. If you come by late, you won't find a space out here."