BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Sewer improvements in downtown Baton Rouge have made a major mess, according to some business owners. They claim their customers can't get to them and it is hurting their investments.
The construction on South Boulevard is nothing new. The ongoing work is part of a bigger project aimed at improving sewer lines in downtown Baton Rouge. People who own businesses in the area said they are for the upgrades. It is the length of time it is taking to get them done that has got their attention.
Randy Wesley, the owner of Pastime, said he has noticed his lunch crowds have gotten a little thinner lately. He believes the construction zone at the foot of his business has a lot to do with that.
"They miss this corner. They can't see the corner when they pass by. It's so confusing that they just continue on and go somewhere else," Wesley said.
It is not hard to miss the construction zone. It takes up three city blocks. Wesley's concern is what people might not see, a deep bore pit, in the center of it all.
"Kids are playing around it. We have pedestrians walking to and from The 13th Gate. It's become a hazard not only for pedestrians but for vehicular traffic," Wesley said.
Wesley said Halloween and LSU football typically drive people into the restaurant around this time this year. When something this big starts turning them away, he said, it is too hard to ignore.
"I've had people email me, write me, talk to me. Almost every customer who comes in says this has to be impacting your business, and it does," Wesley said.
Wesley hopes the city will do something to help the situation before the construction drives his business into the ground.
The city's program manager said the pit will be filled and paved by Friday. In the meantime, they said they will put up a tall fence to keep pedestrians out.