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TxDOT's Hwy 183 road construction impacts commute to Brown County winery

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EARLY, Texas - For the past year the Texas Department of Transportation has undertaken a construction project a few miles outside of Early that has caused detours and delays for drivers.

The $12.5 million project will widen the lanes under a railroad bridge on Hwy 84/183 in Brown County from two to four 12-foot lanes.

On Tuesday, that portion of Hwy 183 between Early and Zephyr will be reduced to one lane with only one direction of traffic going through at a time.

Less than a mile away from that construction is the Spirit of Texas Winery

Brian and Moira McCue opened their 11-acre business on April 6. It's located along Hwy 183 in what Brian described as a perfect fit for them.

"Hwy 183 is a fairly busy road, and we're getting more and more people stopping in to see us," Brian said.

He also said another reason for picking the site was because of the proximity to their grandchildren, who live in Round Rock.

The business currently sells five different wines. It has a patio area and Brian said they plan to break ground on the winery in early 2018.

But even he has to deal with the impact of the construction.

"Some people unfortunately have to turn around," Brian said of those trying to drive to his business.

TxDOT's lane expansion project isn't expected to be completed until spring of 2018.

The agency will do more road closures but none are planned at this time, according TxDOT's Brownwood office spokesman Andrew Carlson.

Brian said drivers taking the 20-mile detour to get to either Early or Zephyr miss the winery.

"When they were closing the bridge, they would bypass back in Zephyr all the way through Blanket to Hwy 377," Brian said. "They would bypass us all together."

But Brian said the impact of the construction on his bottom line has been very minimal.

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