Construction concerns hurting local restaurant’s bottom line

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They’ve got the orange barrel blues up in Hamilton County – with some business owners blaming the U.S. 31 construction project for hurting their bottom line.

These days the construction barrels are everywhere, and that has some business owners frustrated.

“I just hope they get it done on time,” said Larry Hoover, the owner at Brunchie’s near 136th and 31.

Hoover said the project has been turning customers away.

“I’m down probably about 40% since it started,” Hoover said. “It’s been a struggle.”

A mom-and-pop diner, they’ve got pictures of their regular customers on the wall. But now they’ve also put up a map just so those customers can find their way.

“People are creatures of habit,” Hoover said. “They get in the car, go to a certain place and once you deviate their traffic patterns, it’s hard to get them back.”

“This is absolutely terrible. You can’t get anywhere,” said nearby resident Dee Dee Gallagher. “In the morning to get out of my neighborhood, it’ll take an extra 20 minutes in the morning just to go anywhere.”

With 136th Street closed west of U.S. 31, Gallagher can’t get to 31 or to Hoover’s business without going way out of her way.

“I feel bad for everyone,” said Gallagher. “I feel bad for his business. I feel bad for all these businesses.”

“We certainly understand the inconveniences that come along with road closures, especially when there are other projects ongoing at the same time,” said INDOT spokesperson Nathan Riggs. “But it’s important for them to know that this work that’s being done now at 136th street is in preparation for future construction and the improvements we’re putting into place this year with the construction of that roundabout will definitely help with traffic flow as we move forward.”

Starting next week, crews will be conducting overnight closures on some of the ramps at U.S. 31 and I-465.

It’s all part of a multi-million dollar project that won’t be finished until late 2015.

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