On Your Side: Construction Confusion

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News 12 at 6, September 10, 2007

NORTH AUGUSTA -- Some North Augusta businesses say they are struggling to make ends meet, all because of a road construction project.

It's been going on for five months and those owners say they haven't been told when it will end.

A section of Buena Vista Avenue, just outside the North Augusta city limits has been shut down since around April. And, nearby businesses say that's about to shut them down too.

Claudette Fry hasn't had to do too much beer stocking lately. "A lot of people assume we're closed," she said.

People assume Claudette's Buena Vista Avenue Bar isn't open because the road outside her business isn't open and hasn't been for at least five months.

"People who've been coming in for 30 years don't come in anymore," Fry said.

And that's caused her business to drop 50 to 60 percent.

It's the same story across the street for Dre's Fish Market Owner Andre Bauknight. "Since the road closed, it's been like a ghost town around here," he said.

Since April, there has been more construction barricades than customers for many of these businesses. It's hitting them right where it hurts: in the pocket.

Unfortunately, those barricades won't be coming down anytime soon. This problem is no small one. Not too long ago a storm pipe burst, creating a massive washout.

It's a big problem with a solution that hasn't been easy to come by.

South Carolina D.O.T. engineers say fixing this road is too big of a job for them and they've had to hire in an outside contractor to do the work.

Unfortunately, that contractor can't get started for at least another week and a half. And then it will be another three or four weeks before it gets fixed.

For Claudette, it's something that can't be done soon enough. "It's hard enough on any small business, but with a deterrent like that," she said, business isn’t coming in.

There are detour signs directing people to the businesses, but D.O.T. workers say either people aren't paying attention to them or they don't want the hassle of the detour.

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