I-70 B Project almost done, business frustrations are not

By: Gina Esposito Email
By: Gina Esposito Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Stop and go traffic along the I-70 B corridor is almost over, but the frustrations local businesses have been dealing with in that area are not.

Many businesses are confused about why they haven't seen crews working at night. Unplanned lane closures have popped up several times throughout the past few months during the day. This has made it difficult for customers to visit the area and spend money.

Operations Manager for Del Taco, Hugh Mason, said he's upset over unfinished work. Mason said, "Its like what they did to my driveway this week... they went and cut out a piece of the concrete there. I don't know what's going on, when they are going to repair that."

Mason said his main concern is with day-time lane closures. These closures have led to fewer sales because they sometimes block his drive-through. He said, "So that really hurt us on our business, especially those people that are in a hurry to get food at lunch or dinner. Its kind of slowed us down."

Mason also said, "We did see quite a few customers stop coming because its real hectic to get here. I know some employees voiced that too that they didn't want to come to work because it was a maze to get here."

Mason also wondered why lanes are being closed at the most inconvenient time for business and not at night. He said, "I don't think they worked on it as much as they could have, especially during the summertime. Most of the lane closures were during the day."

Public Information Manager for the I-70 B Project, Tom Newland, said, "Well its not just money, that's a CDOT decision because it would cost more money to work at night... and its a safety concern."

Newland acknowledges that closing lanes during the day impacts business. He said, "We realize that's occurred, having said that though you've got to do these projects. Its just kind of anticipated. We try to reduce the pain as much as possible, but it is what it is."

Newland said while they could get the money to work at night, it's not going to happen. He said crews would need to be paid more and work wouldn't go as quickly. He said, "It has to do with the project budget and also the safety situation out on the road work. Its just felt that its better all and all if we work during the days and not during the nights."

Newland said he's hoping crews will be able to finish the project by Thanksgiving. He said daytime lane closures have sped up the project and crews could be done ahead of schedule.

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