The barricades have gone up on Bellaire Boulevard as construction has begun on a long segment of the southwest Houston thoroughfare.
The orange barrels are out and the brake lights are blazing, with traffic rolling more slowly than normal.
"You know, always Bellaire is a lot of traffic on Bellaire, man," said Juan Chares, whom we found inching along the boulevard in a pickup. "Right now, there's more traffic."
The affected section of Bellaire runs through Sharpstown and Chinatown. Plans call for the addition of a storm sewer system, underground; manicured medians; improved traffic lights and street signs; plus an extra westbound lane.
"Some of the new landscaping that's going in -- and obviously improving of the storm drainage system -– hopefully all of that will be worth the pain of the traffic, however long it ultimately takes," said Julie Tam. Her family business, Lyn Realty, is located just off Bellaire.
"We never know exactly how long construction projects take," she added knowingly.
This one is supposed to take about two years, at a cost of $25 million.
But construction will be suspended mid-December through mid-February for the celebration of the usual winter holidays along with the Chinese New Year.
Your best alternate routes are Harwin or Beechnut. For complete details on the construction –- including the timing of closures and detours -– click here: