Construction on North Leroy Street is about three weeks behind schedule and some Fenton business owners are trying to wait patiently until it’s completed.
Fenton Public Works Director Dan Czarnecki said the project is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 21 instead of Aug. 31.
“It’s going to interfere with school starting, but we can work around that,” Czarnecki said.
Crews worked on the finishing touches on the east side northbound lanes early this week driveways as they mill off about four-inches of the existing, old asphalt surface, make needed pavement repairs, and then place a new base course of asphalt.
The end of construction can't come soon enough for business owners along North Leroy as they said they have seen business slow down dramatically.
“Business dropped as soon as they put the barrels down,” said Stan Lamrouex, manager of Kan Rock Tire on North Leroy Street. “I think a lot of people are avoiding the area. It was bumper to bumper traffic when it started, but now there are not as many cars.”
He did say things seemed to pick up a bit last week as the shop had its busiest week of the summer.
Hyesun Jeon, owner of Fenton Cleaners, also said business has been slow.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” she said. “It had to be done, but we’ll be happy when it’s over.”
Some elderly patients have had trouble with finding a re-routed entrance to Dr. James M. Rachor and Associates, said assistant officer manager Dawn Chase.
She said many other patients have parked in nearby parking lots.
“It needs to be done, we just hope the drainage problem will be taken care of,” Chase said.
Four Seasons Fresh Market closed last week. Owners could not be reached to determined how much impact the construction project had on the shop.
Businesses on the other side of the street seem to have fared a little better. Work is expected to switch to the southbound lanes Aug. 6.
“I don’t think it has impacted us,” said Fenton Winery & Brewery owner Ginny Sherrow. “We’ve had our busiest summer yet. We’ll see when they switch sides.”
Gatsby Grind owner Fady Elias said the construction may have actually helped his new business.
“It slowed traffic down so people can see us,” he said.
Czarnecki said crews have done their best to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
“They have tried to work around businesses, coming in early and paving before traffic picks up,” Czarnecki said.
Czarnecki said the west side of the street should be quicker and that the road will be topped all at one time when work is complete on both sides.
“We are rolling now,” he said.
One odd site for people observing the project may have been the driving of large poles into the ground in the under the road. The roadway in this area was originally constructed over a material of peat and muck in front of VG’s grocery store and Dr. Rachor’s dental office. This area settled about 18-inches over a 20-year span. To raise the street back to its original location, this peat material needed to be stabilized. The poles were used to do this.
The poles, or pilings as they are called in the construction industry, were placed at varying depths of up to 20-ft with their termination into a sand material that exists below the peat. The peat was found to be in a bowl shape and this was easily seen from the different lengths the poles were exposed above the street during their installation. The poles were driven past the peat and into the sand to a depth that was determined to provide the stability to allow the poles to hold up the weight of the soils and street surface that will be installed on top of them.
Fenton residents haved had mixed opinions on the construction.
Charna Rose Hollerbachp posted, "I'm up and down there all the time. It's not as bad as people are making it out to be." on the Fenton Patch Facebook Page.
Mary Hitchings said, "Been avoiding it as much as possible, can't wait until its done!"