Elton Hills Bridge construction hitting businesses hard after completion delay

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Elton Hills Drive Bridge construction is expected to take a…

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Elton Hills Drive Bridge construction is expected to take a bit longer to be completed. Construction was supposed to wrapped up by June 30th, but is now expected to get done in late July or early August.

Because of the delay, the city is asking for monetary damages from the contractor. City staff members say the funds will go toward project costs.

But one group of people who won’t be seeing any of this money and has been impacted by the construction is the business owners around the construction site.

“Certainly made some changes as far how from a delivery standpoint we get out of this area to go make deliveries,” Rennings Flowers owner Phil Schroader said.

One the west side of the bridge, local businesses have to make sure customers know about detours to get to the stores.

“We’ve had a number of customers say how do we get to our store now,” Schroader said.

On the east side of the bridge is this strip mall where there used to be four businesses, but now only one remains.

“We’ve lost three of our neighbors already and that’s an indication of the impact on the business,” Dunn Brothers Coffee owner Dennis Wong said.

Dunn Brothers Coffee has had to cut down hours and let go off staff members since the construction has started.

“It affects our traffic. It affects our hours. It’s been quite difficult,” Wong said.

After temporarily losing the prime location along a main drag of the city, not as many people travel in the area.

“We lose a big part of our morning drive time traffic because people are re-routed, and it’s not an convenient as it was,” Wong said,

Business owners say the delay is disappointing to hear, especially during the warmer months when business typically picks up.

“People enjoy that walking trail, biking trail. It’s a beautiful walk, so we miss that as well,” Wong said.

“People just want to get out and shop a little bit, too. So now’s the time that we normally get a little more walk in that way too, so that’s going to be curtailed for another month,” Schroader said.

To check out the full Elton Hills Drive Bridge plan, click here.

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