Businesses frustrated with changing construction on Market Street

SPOKANE, Wash. - A construction project to add a new sidewalk and bicycle lane to Market Street between Houston Avenue and Lincoln Road has been frustrating neighboring businesses.

Last Friday, Sportsman Cafe was told come Monday their driveway would be dug out to pour cement. "No problem," said general manager Helen Brooks. She was told it would only take one day; and Monday is their slow day.

"Then they dug a trench so we had no driveway Friday, Saturday and Sunday which are out busiest days. In the meantime there was no work done Friday, Saturday and Sunday," explained Brooks.

And to further add insult to injury, no work was done Monday. She went to the superintendent of the job site who apologized, saying there had been an issue. It wasn't corrected for 6 days and no work was ever done. This headache came as a shock to her.

Brooks explained, "I went to the meetings with all of the other businesses and you know they told me they didn't know why I was there because it won't affect me. Houston is North of us."

One business that was told they would be affected by the construction from Houston Avenue to Lincoln Road is Brent's Automotive. The last six weeks of construction have been hard on them.

"The walk-in customers dropped down a little below half of what we normally get especially this time of year," said owner Brent Ferguson.

And it's about to get worse. They too were promised by the county that the road would not close, and like Sportsman Cafe, are worried as they too rely on thru traffic which has been getting smaller and smaller by the day.

"All of our drive by business- we don't have it. Nobody wants to drive through this mess," added Helen Brooks.

KXLY 4 went to the county for answers. They said they have broken their promise after discovering a need for utility work in the middle of the road. They added that there was an option that would've seen them keeping their word but that it probably would hurt businesses even more.

Deputy County Engineer for Spokane County Matt Zarecor said, "we could flag people but the delays would be really long. 30-45 minutes at certain points during the construction and the delays probably wouldn't be worth it to folks. This seems like the better route for everybody."

The thru traffic closure was supposed to be from July 20 to July 31. It will now be closed through July 27. Businesses we spoke to will remain open during the thru traffic closure and ask customers to use residential roads to reach them.