Torn up roads and heavy equipment have caused a construction migraine in downtown Spokane, and it looks like that could last into next summer.
The City of Spokane says the Lincoln-Monroe Corridor Project will have a base layer of asphalt before winter hits, but crews may not have to be able to finish the project until next year.
The project was supposed to be done by early fall, but it's taking so long because crews are running into unexpected problems with infrastructure underneath the roads.
The City says the construction will be worth it in the long run, but ti's hard to feel that way when you're stuck in it.
The lunch rush? More like the lunch lull at Tamarack Public House.
“I used to have three servers on the floor for lunch. Now i have one,” said Teresa Gonder, Tamarack owner.
The restaurant has only been open for a year and a half, and for the last six months it's been nestled in the heart of the Lincoln-Monroe Corridor Project.
“It's a challenge,” said Gonder. “Our walk-in revenue dropped 50 percent right when construction started.”
Ripped up streets and closed off sidewalks make getting customers in the door a struggle.
“I don't know how they could make that better other than not doing so much at once,” Gonder said.
But, the City of Spokane says they're making progress.
“As you're seeing this week, we're getting our first asphalt down on the project, which is really exciting,” said Kyle Twohig, Engineering Operations Manager for the City of Spokane.
They'll pave the east lanes of Lincoln and Monroe from Sprague to Second Ave., then pave the lanes from Sprague to Main Ave.
By the end of the month, those lanes will have a five inch base layer and will open up to traffic.
Then, crews will move over to the west lanes of Lincoln and Monroe, finishing up the base layer on those by the end of November. The top two inches might have to be paved later, possibly next summer.
“We don't want to sacrifice the product by forcing in a top lift of asphalt in the cold weather,” said Twohig.
The City says it's a faster and less disruptive process, but until then, businesses are working hard to make it through these tough months.
“We'll survive, but we have to work extremely hard to do so,” said Gonder. “And we've got 32 tap handles. People will jump over a few pipes to get to beer.”
The City of Spokane placed new signs on about 50 parking meters in the area today, notifying drivers that free parking starts at 5 p.m. instead of the usual 7 p.m. The hope is that the parking will draw in more customers to these businesses hurting from construction.