Reduced foot traffic.
Loss of revenue.
And one big headache.
That’s how many businesses along East Washington see the ongoing improvements that have transformed one of the city’s busiest arteries into an obstacle course and delayed the crosstown commute.
At Big O’ Tires, general manager Randy Scott estimated that he had lost about 20 percent a month in sales as a result of the water main replacement project that began this summer.
“I was given no clue when the work started and they still haven’t given me any idea when it’s going to finish,” said Scott, who has been at the location for 20 years.
“If they would have given me several months notice, I would have sent around special promotions to customers to get them in and ease the pain,” he said.
Over at Jamba Juice, general manager Justin Delaney, echoed the frustration, saying that the store had lost money during the month that work was happening in front of the business.
“We were notified by a construction worker just a few days before they started,” he said. “We would have appreciated a more formal notice so we wouldn’t have scheduled all the workers who ended up standing around. It was really slow.”
The estimated completion date for the water main replacement project is mid-December, according to city engineer Larry Zimmer.
Work is also continuing on the Target Regency shopping center next to the 101 onramp, with another two weeks of intermittent lane closures planned. However, the final paving can’t be completed until the water main is fully put in and that has been slightly delayed because of additional materials that needed to be ordered.
There's also the railroad crossing at D Street that the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) will be repairing, but has yet to be scheduled.
Meanwhile, patience is running out for many businesses.
“There are less people coming in, less gas being pumped and less in overall sales,” said a manager at East Washington Smog at the Valero station, who would only give his name as Ross. “But when I ask when it will be over, no one seems to know.”
Are you a business that has been impacted by the roadwork on East Washington? Share your experience with other readers.