ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A road construction project in Ascension Parish that has experienced multiple delays is nearing completion.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development reports Highway 73 in Prairieville will re-open by the end of September. Some business owners said if that does not happen, it could mean another hit to their bottom line.
Seamstress June Loh was focused as she altered the garments that arrived at her shop. She had everything she needed in her small sewing room. She said getting the job done is easy. But lately, she has had a hard time connecting with her clientele.
"I have to call my customers and let them know we have no exit for you to come in and pick up today," Loh said.
She said the construction right outside of her door makes it difficult for people to get to and from her business.
Construction crews have been working on Highway 73, from Airline Highway to Interstate 10, for over four years. The state hired them to add a turn lane, but those who drive through it said the only difference they have seen so far is more traffic.
"Even some of the customers are really nearby and it usually takes them like five minutes, but it takes another 20 minutes to get here," Loh said.
Some business owners fear their customers have gotten so frustrated, they have gone elsewhere. Imran Bashar, owner of Village Market, said it has cost him big.
"Seventy five percent of my business is down because of the construction," Bashar said.
Customers trickle in and out during the day, but he said what used to be a busy lunch spot has slowly turned into a quiet reminder of how much his business is hurting.
"As you can see, nobody is here. Used to be when [construction crews] were not here, this time would be pretty packed," Bashar said.
The state said relief is on the way. Crews are laying one more coat of asphalt on the road, which is set to open by the end of September, but Bashar has his doubts.
"I've been hearing that for the last two to three years. In the last two years, at least, I've seen three different deadlines," Bashar said.
A spokesman for LaDOTD said when the highway opens in September, crews will continue putting finishing touches to drainage in the area. He added, that should not impact traffic.