Brackett Avenue construction project could impact businesses

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- It is the city's biggest construction project of the year. In less than a week, parts of Brackett Avenue will be closed, impacting commutes for thousands of drivers.

The road closure could also have an impact on Brackett Avenue businesses. All of that traffic and potential customers will no longer be driving by.

Angie Urness is four days into a new family business along Brackett Avenue. Say hello to Al's Dog House.

"I know a lot of people from Eau Claire so I hope they're gonna come visit me," Urness joked.

The location is great. It is right along Brackett Avenue where thousands of cars drive each day.

But next week, that drive-by traffic, potential customers, is about to change.

"This is the city's largest construction project we're taking on this year so it's gonna be a major construction zone," said Eau Claire City Engineer Dave Solberg.

He says parts of Brackett Avenue will close beginning Monday - the stretch from the Kwik Trip driveway all the way down to Rudolph Road.

And things will stay that way through November. Getting to businesses will not be as easy as it once was.

"We've had city crews in improving alleyways to make them more passable, so we’re trying to do everything we can to make the physical avenues for the businesses open," Solberg said.

He says some businesses are even looking into discounts to keep customers coming by. We saw that at one business.

Michael Magur, owner of Brackett Triple M Auto Center, is thinking about offering some specials, too.

"We're gonna see what happens, if it slows down we'll have 10% off or some big sale to try and get people to come in," Magur said.

75% of his business comes from repeat customers but it is the other 25% he is worried about capturing - those who stop by for the first time.

He is banking on cars that drive by on nearby roads like Keith Street to stop in.

Urness also says there are plenty of roads and alleyways to get to Al's Dog House. If customers want a hot dog, she says they will find a way to get here.

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(CITY OF EAU CLAIRE NEWS RELEASE)

The Brackett Avenue and Harding Avenue reconstruction project, from Lee Street to Donnellan Lane, is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 28th. The contractor for the $2.69 million improvement project is Haas Sons, Inc. of Thorp, Wisconsin.

Construction will require Brackett Avenue and Harding Avenue to be closed to through traffic and a detour route established. Eastbound traffic will be detoured beginning at the Washington Street and S. Farwell Street intersection. Traffic will be directed north on S. Farwell Street to Main Street; then east on Main Street to S. Hastings Way; then south on S. Hastings Way to Brackett Avenue. Westbound traffic will be detoured north on S. Hastings Way to Main Street; then west on Main Street to S. Farwell Street; then south on S. Farwell Street to Washington Street.

Brackett Avenue and Harding Avenue will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 of the construction will be Brackett Avenue from Donnellan Lane to Rudolph Road. During Phase 1, Harding Avenue from Lee Street to Rudolph Road shall remain open to traffic. When the utilities near completion in Phase 1, construction will begin on Phase 2. In Phase 2, Harding Avenue from Lee Street to Rudolph Road will be closed to traffic and Brackett Avenue will remain closed to traffic. The Phase 2 closures will then be in effect for the remainder of the project.

The Brackett Avenue and Harding Avenue construction will include:

(1) Complete reconstruction with new utilities, curb and gutter, bituminous pavement, sidewalk, and colored concrete boulevards.
(2) Lane configuration will remain unchanged.
(3) The existing light poles will be removed and replaced with new light poles, similar to those installed on S. Hastings Way.
(4) The traffic signals at the intersections of Margaret Street, Rudolph Road, and Keith Street will be upgraded.

The work is planned to be completed by November 1,2014, depending on the timely delivery of construction materials and the weather.


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