Nearly a year after its closure in the summer of 2018, Chucky Mullins Drive has reopened to commuter traffic.
The university initially planned for the closed portion of Chucky Mullins Drive to be reopened in January 2019 but is three months behind schedule in its opening. It was closed to reroute traffic around construction on the new South Campus Recreation Center, which is yet to open.
The section of closed road spanned the Chucky Mullins exit from Highway 6 to Old Taylor Road. Because of its path into the rear entrance of campus, it was a popular route for students and administrators who live on Old Taylor Road.
Senior accounting major Landon Mount lives on Old Taylor Road and frequently used Chucky Mullins Drive before it was closed. He said he was relieved to hear the road has been reopened.
“Whenever Chucky Mullins was closed, I would have to take Old Taylor,” Mount said. “That route added about six minutes to my drive. … Whenever there was traffic on it at 8 o’clock in the morning or 5 in the afternoon, it would add about 10 to 15 minutes.”
Mount said his original route to campus only took him four minutes.
The road not only proved to be a valuable route for students to access campus but also to reduce congestion on Old Taylor Road. Now that Chucky Mullins Drive has reopened, the natural balance of traffic should even out between both entrances to campus.
While mentioning the benefits of having the road reopened, Mount posed an interesting question: What will happen to Chucky Mullins in the future?
Prior to the closure, the route went to the left of the parking area on top of the hill. Now, the route cuts directly through the parking lot.
This has Uber driver Michelle Shad worried.
Self-proclaimed “Best Uber Driver” on social media, Shad is in her car for eight to nine hours a day. Shad said the closure of Chucky Mullins placed her under financial strain.
“(Closing) Chucky Mullins killed us. I mean, every night, we lost money,” she said. “Every night, every Uber driver in town lost money by not having that access.”
By having to reroute, she would lose an average of two rides a day because of traffic and delay, Shad said. On average, she receives $7 per ride, which means that the closure of Chucky Mullins caused her to lose nearly $400 of potential income per month.
Shad was happy to have it reopened, but as mentioned before, she is uncertain about the future.