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Neighbors fight proposed Hillcroft Avenue expansion

HOUSTON – A road project not scheduled to begin until 2018 is already causing controversy with thousands of southwest Houston residents now fighting to stop it before it starts.

The city wants to reconstruct Hillcroft Avenue between Bissonnet and Beechnut by expanding it from four lanes to six lanes.

The Department of Public Works and Engineering calls it an improvement project, but homeowners said it would ruin their quality of life.

Neighbors have signed paper and online petitions asking the city to reconsider.

"We want our neighborhood to stay a neighborhood, not a thoroughfare through our neighborhood," Braeburn Terrace resident Caroline Wilson said.

The city said the project is more than just a road expansion. Hillcroft will be repaved and will have wider sidewalks and new traffic signals and improved drainage, water and sewer infrastructure.

The city held its first meeting with residents in July.

"We appreciate the community's response to date, and we continue to accept and consider their information," Gary Norman, a spokesman for Public Works and Engineering, said.

Homeowners hope the city really is listening.

"Ellen Cohen, you're our councilwoman, have our backs. Mayor Turner, have our backs. We really don't need this project and I know you can spend this money elsewhere," resident Debi Sterling said.

As a result of the outcry, the city has extended the public comment period on the project until Sept. 30.