'Never-ending' construction project hits businesses' bottom line - WNEM TV 5

'Never-ending' construction project hits businesses' bottom lines

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A Familiar Sight - Orange barrels lining Salzburg Ave. A Familiar Sight - Orange barrels lining Salzburg Ave.

Businesses along a Mid-Michigan road project desperately hope the project will finally wrap up by the end of week. 

That's what they've been told by the Michigan Department of Transportation. But some of those Bay City businesses on Salzburg Avenue say when the project ends they face a new obstacle. 

"Like I've told my husband, I don't know how long we can go on like this," said Tammy Thomas, a business owner who has gone on without a lot of foot traffic for months now. She says it's all thanks to a road project in front of her shop. She co-owns Bay Vac with her husband Ed. They were told last spring that the project would be finished by July 4. But several project delays kept that from happening, and local business owners say it's costing them a lot of money. She says Bay Vac lost upwards of 85 percent of potential business. Thomas and her husband hoped to get a state grant to make up for that lost revenue. They were told they could apply for a low interest loan.

"I told the guy if I could afford a loan, don't you think I'd pay my bills on time?" said Thomas.

Al Satkowiak works a couple of doors down from Bay Vac at Steve's TV & VCR Repair. He says he also took a big hit thanks to the project.

"It takes and cuts our business down 75 to 80 percent because a lot of people want convenience and if they can't get to the place, they're not going to come here," said Satkowiak.

Once the orange barrels are moved out of the way for good, there still will be a negative impact on some of the businesses along the roadway. Bay Vac repair lost its free parking. Now customers will have to lug their vacuum cleaners across a very busy roadway to have them repaired.

"Their plans changed and we lost all our parking spots," said Thomas.  

Meanwhile Thomas keeps her fingers crossed that the heavy equipment she's watched outside her windows for months will be gone by this Friday but, "I'll believe it when I see it," she stated.

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