Roadwork hurting business at intersection - East Valley Tribune: News

Roadwork hurting business at intersection

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Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2009 3:38 pm | Updated: 12:54 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

David Franco says it takes 30 minutes to drive the two miles between his son’s high school and his home near Gilbert and Warner roads.

“I should be home in eight minutes,” he said.

He’s not the only one inconvenienced by the snarled mess of street construction at Cooper and Warner roads

Warner-Cooper left-turn lanes being expanded

Construction information phone line set up

David Franco says it takes 30 minutes to drive the two miles between his son’s high school and his home near Gilbert and Warner roads.

“I should be home in eight minutes,” he said.

Warner-Cooper left-turn lanes being expanded

Construction information phone line set up

He’s not the only one inconvenienced by the snarled mess of street construction at Cooper and Warner roads. So are area merchants like Brian Drusen, an assistant manager at Gilbert Ace Hardware in the Bayshore Plaza on the northwest corner of the intersection.

Drusen said traffic has dropped about 20 percent, and he’s cut back on staffing.

“It’s just too hard for people to get in here,” he said.

Adding to the problem are the speeders who cut through his parking lot to avoid the four to five-block backups, he said.

Drusen said he’s surprised there hasn’t been an accident.

The six-month project will widen all four left-turn lanes at the intersection from one lane to two lanes at a price tag of $6.8 million. The work will be paid for with a half-cent sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004.

Until work wraps up in early summer, lanes will be constricted from two lanes to one.

Gilbert spokeswoman Beth Lucas said officials understand it’s a tough economy, and they empathize with the local businesses. She said town employees are meeting with merchants in the area to make sure Gilbert is doing everything possible to help minimize the impact of construction.

One thing Gilbert did was establish a 24-hour hot line for questions and concerns from members of the public.

Lucas said the reason crews are working on all four sides of the intersection at once is to get the job done quicker.

“They kind of decided the intersection would be affected either way, and so, if it was done quicker, then that would open it up and in the long run there’ll be more traffic able to come through,” she said. “We’re hoping in the long run it will benefit all the companies in the area.

Rusty Ramsey, manager at the Econo Lube N’ Tune at the southeast corner of the intersection, said he’s seen a slump in business, but it’s hard to know how much of it is due to the economy versus the roadwork.

“It’s (the construction) made it slower,” he said. “I would certainly say that.”

Deb Krecek, owner of Super Suppers in the Bayshore Plaza, pointed to several nearby businesses that have closed in the strip mall.

“We’re all suffering,” she said. “In my plaza itself, Hollywood Video has just closed down,” she said. “The Fresh and Easy (Neighborhood Market) is choosing not to open. Because of the construction, they’ve delayed their opening.”

“My walk-in traffic has — oh my goodness. I want to say it’s down at least 40 percent in the last (month),” she added. “My November numbers are awful.”

She said she won’t be able to hang on much longer, especially after summer starts — a time of year when her business of take-and-bake foods typically tapers off a great deal.

For more information about the project, call (602) 264-6416.

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