Construction downtown has created a traffic nightmare for many drivers and now for the not so good news: Construction season could last until the end of the year of even longer.
Much of downtown has been partially closed for the construction but the biggest projects are happening on Lincoln and Monroe, and crews are saying those roads won't be completed until at least the end of November.
Crews will be laying new asphalt soon but first this project required all new infrastructure as well. Crews had to replace plumbing and electrical wiring laid down nearly 60 years ago. They say they wanted to tackle all of it at once to avoid more construction in the coming years.
The city keeps telling us, all this construction will be worth it in the long run but it's hard to feel that way when you're stuck in it.
“It's hard to look at the benefits at this point,” Scratch general manager Steve Kessler said.
What started last spring now has businesses at their wits end with restaurants like Scratch struggling to get customers through the door.
“How can you feel if you're somebody who comes down here to a small business only to park and get a to go order, but there's nowhere to go and then to come out and there's like a ticket on your car. Well, they don't want to come back here at all,” Kessler said.
With a maze of electrical wiring and underground plumbing they knew it would a tight race to the finish.
“Believe it or not, this is one of our easier intersections, one of the easiest corners on the project that we have to work with here. And here you're seeing a lot of electrical and communication conduits. And this is the new infrastructure that's going in and being laid,” Engineering Operations Manager Kyle Twohig said.
Crews said finding solutions to speed up construction could be a struggle. Not only are they dealing with third parties to fix infrastructure but working crews through the night presents its own problems.
“We do have noise ordinances in place for a reason. We have a lot of downtown hotels and now a lot of downtown residents. So we have to be thoughtful about the lighting it creates, the noise it creates,” Twohig explained.
For those businesses struggling to get customers through the doors the lack of solutions just adds to their frustrations.
“Their communications have pretty much said they want to keep having conversations with the local businesses and see what they can do better next time for continuing construction, but that doesn't do anything for this time,” Kessler said.
Crews told city council members in a meeting Monday if they don't make their late November deadline roads will be repaved and stay open and the work that still remains will be done a couple of blocks at a time.