Construction Delay Upsets Business Owners

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

But now the light at the end of the tunnel is fading away. In the last two days the changes on Auburn Street have been very visible. Tuesday workers laid down the first layer of black top from Main Street to Harlem Boulevard. This is paving the way for a final completion date of September 15th not September 1st.

Oddly Enough owner Rachelle Holmberg says, "We've had to dig into our savings to get by. They cut off our frontal access and many days they have trucks across rear entrance. They’ve cut off our lifeline."

It was no surprise to Oddly Enough owner Rachelle Holmberg that the opening of Auburn Street is delayed. Since construction began in March one by one businesses on this stretch have been closing up shop. Rachelle's had to take thousands of dollars out of savings to stay afloat. She's even forked over money to pay for extra signs. And through it all she's been tracking the workers every move.

Rachelle tells 23 News, “The fact that they haven't worked for 20 or I'd have to check my records but 20 or 22 days since may. It's like they rolled up the sidewalks and forgot about us."

Project Director Dave Camacho admits workers have been non existent some days but he can explain the reason behind the empty job site.

Camacho states, "We had quite a bit of rain in May and June. Not only can the contractor not work on the days it's raining but they may keep him from his controlling item for a day or two after that."

In May and June it rained a total of 26 days. But only 14 of those days did it rain more than a tenth of an inch.

Camacho says, “I'm very sympathetic to the residents and business owners. But I'm also very happy. Sure if we'd have the perfect weather it would have been done before September 1st. I'll go as far and say that."

Traffic will eventually have to switch from the north to the south and then the entire stretch will have to be paved from curb to curb and that will be done in stages. With “On the Waterfront” just around the corner and school starting August 24th drivers are still being asked to use Whitman Street as an alternative route. Harrison Avenue will be the next big project. Work on that begins August 14th.


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