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UTEP students frustrated with construction closures

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas, -- A highly traveled pedestrian path at the University of Texas- El Paso has closed for at least three weeks for construction work on Hawthorne Street.

Pedestrian traffic between the Administration Building and the Liberal Arts Building are now being rerouted as crews continue work on the Campus Transformation project.

Contractors are currently connecting underground utility lines near where Centennial Plaza will be constructed.

University officials said since crews must address infrastructure improvements above and below ground, the work could take up to three weeks.

Students at UTEP said they are frustrated by the constant detours because it makes many of them late for class.

"I have to make sure I get on campus ahead of time to make up for the detour routes we have to take now. Im not exactly happy with it," said Anthony Rodriguez, a UTEP junior.

Although the construction work may take longer than anticipated to finish, one official said it's necessary to create a safe campus for the students.

"It's been several months since we went into production," said Greg McNicol, associate vice president for business affairs at UTEP. "But we're going to create a much safer environment for walking.

McNicol said it's been 40 years since some of the utility lines have been replaced.

"It would not be prudent to make all of the improvements to the surface of the ground without first addressing the issues of the utilities in the ground. Many of them are very old and in need of replacement," McNicol said.

Students are excited for the new changes, but they are just ready for it all to be done sooner than later.

"It definitely looks like there's going to be more space, it should be more comfortable for us, but I definitely wanted them to get it done faster," said George Quinones, a UTEP junior.

The University recommends two detour options for students during the Hawthorne Street closure.

For instance, students can use the paved access road -- on Wiggins between the Bioscience Research Building and the University Library -- that stretches to the Engineering Breezeway that ends at Hawthorne.

Students can also enter the Physical Science Building, where signs will mark the way to exit behind the Administration Building.

For more information on the latest detours and closures at UTEP, go to http://onthemove.utep.edu.