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Drivers will see relief from downtown construction in time for Opening Day

Santa Fe Street in downtown El Paso is getting ready to reopen, just in time for the El Paso Chihuahuas' home opener.

A major street in downtown El Paso is getting ready to reopen, just in time for the El Paso Chihuahuas' home opener.

Martin Bartlett with the El Paso Streetcar project says Santa Fe Street should be open between noon and 3 p.m. on Thursday.

The home opener for the El Paso Chihuahuas starts at 7:05 p.m.

Santa Fe Street has been closed for several months as crews dug up the road and then laid down rails for the streetcar to run on.

Bartlett says that last week concrete was laid on the road and the city has been waiting for the concrete to harden enough to handle heavy car traffic.

Bartlett said that there might be work in the future on Santa Fe Street for that streetcar project but nothing to the magnitude of what downtown El Paso drivers have seen in recent months.

One local cigar shop that just opened up on Dec. 1 says it's been waiting for Santa Fe Street construction to be done since it opened.

"Construction was a strange welcome mat on our front door when we started our business," said Hugo Arreola from Vitola's Cigar and Whiskey Bar.

The bar opened up right across the street from Southwest University Park, and Arriola said it's been a challenge to bring new customers in because construction is all around them.

"Once El Pasoans hear about construction in any area, (they) avoid that area like the plague and so for a few months now I'm sure El Pasoans have just avoided downtown in general but we're looking forward to tomorrow, to Opening Day," Arreola said.

One of the biggest challenges for Arreola is figuring out which days the streets will be open and closed and trying to disseminate that information to customers.

"The biggest issue that we face so far is just telling customers what days Santa Fe is going to be open, what day Franklin is going to be open,and I know it was closed for a while and so parking is a situation to deal with also," he said.

Along with Santa Fe Street reopening, he's hoping to attract more customers when they walk by his shop on the way to the Chihuahuas baseball games this season.

With construction wrapping up on Santa Fe, streetcar crews will move on to Stanton and Oregon streets to lay rail between Franklin Street.

Road work is also still happening on Franklin Avenue. Traffic there has been reduced to a single eastbound lane all the way to Kansas Street for the project.

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