Swollen Mississippi causing delays in road construction on Sherwood Forest, leaving business owners frustrated
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Since April, Sherwood Forest Boulevard has been under construction.
The project was supposed to be completed around mid-June, however, a swollen Mississippi River has caused construction to grind to a halt.
“Right now, because of flooding conditions on all the rivers, it’s created a real problem getting that type of material that we need here,” said Fred Raiford, director of Transportation and Drainage Department for Baton Rouge.
Raiford says crews are using a special type of asphalt that’s only available in Arkansas.
“The type of material that we’re using is what they call a 2F,” he said. “It’s a higher grade asphalt, you know, it’s very, it has a lot of strength to it because when you’re carrying 35,000 cars a day, you want to be sure that whatever you put down lasts for a long time.”
The delay in getting that special asphalt is starting to cause issues for small business owners along Sherwood Forest Boulevard.
“My profits have been cut pretty much a quarter or in half at least and I think it’s due to the construction,” said Cedric Burrell, owner of Best Boilers Seafood.
Burrell says customers have told him the construction and the traffic have deterred them from come coming more often then they typically would.
“We have customers who call to ask us about the traffic. How’s the traffic? You know, what’s going on? Is it a line in front of your building? You know, stuff like that,” he said.
Raiford says there’s no timeline yet on when the asphalt will finally make it to Baton Rouge, only that once it does, it should only take four weeks to have the road paved.
“We’re calling every two or three days to find out what’s the condition up there and when we can get some material delivered,” Raiford said.
Until the materials do make it down river, Burrell says it’s going to be tight.
“The corporate guys, they can withstand this because they’ve got corporate backing,” he said. “I mean, someone that’s local, it definitely takes a toll on us. You know, it’s just a family business and you know we need this to survive.”
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