Construction approval concerns business owners over access

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Newly approved construction projects in Eau Claire have some business owners concerned about access.

“It's a combination of pavement condition, on those stretches of roadway, as well as needing to replace aged utilities,” City Engineer Dave Solberg said.

Six projects costing about $3.7 million were approved by the city council Tuesday, with the biggest on Menomonie Street that will convert the current four traffic lanes to two, adding bike lanes and a left turning lane.

Solberg said the construction, beginning in May, will cut off traffic there from Claremont Avenue to Carson Park Drive, running about one-fifth of a mile.

“The Menomonie Street detour involves Cameron Street to Bellinger Street to Fifth Avenue back on Water Street,” Solberg said.

According to Google maps, that detour is about 4.4 miles long.

“When you shut Menomonie Street down, there aren't a lot of other alternatives for detour routes.”

Chad Olson, who co-owns Me-No-Monie Street Pawn and Loan said when customers have to take that detour, possibly on a temporary gravel road, it could hurt his business, along with several others in the areas.

“I understand these things have to happen, and yeah, it will be nice when it's done, it's just gonna be a month and a half or longer to do this construction and I tell you, a month and a half, that could kill a business. If we're down to 25 percent of our normal business, that's a death nail. We might as well close the doors,” Olson said.

“Our street conditions will have vastly improved, by the end of the construction season,” Solberg said.

“I hope they can get the thing done as fast as possible,” Olson said.

Solberg said other big construction projects will be on Starr and Brackett Avenues this summer.

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