Road work continues on Highway 73

PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Highway 73 is about to get a major upgrade, but it's clear the improvements don't come without a cost.

Some businesses in the area say it's hit their bottom line hard.  The Village Convenience Store clerk Adnan Bashar, says his register isn't ringing as often as it used to.  

"Business has been down 300, 400, 500 dollars," said Bashar.
He says it started when state workers started moving dirt on the $15 million, three-lane expansion project. It's also left Hwy. 73 with stop and go traffic during some of the most hectic times of day. Bashar believes its kept customers from swinging by.

"Nobody wants to stop because its hard for them to enter to the store because the entrance has been blocked," he explained.

The project, which started in January of last year, is aimed at alleviating traffic congestion. But relief didn't come quickly.  Delays caused by weather and utility relocations have pushed the project back, leaving some residents and motorists frustrated.

"It needs to hurry up," said Amanda Higgins.

Higgins is a lifelong resident of Prairieville. She says the project has been a nuisance.

"I don't even come down this way," she continued.

Not only has it been an inconvenience for locals, it also has been a pain for first responders.

"We have to coordinate with the other stations when we think we have difficulty getting trucks from this station." said Prairieville Fire Chief Mark Stewart.  "We have to call other stations to get them prepared to respond."

Those who do have a choice say they've turned to alternate routes.

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