Government Street construction more than just a headache for business owner

Business owner says ongoing construction causing issues

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For months, orange cones and construction crews have been a common sight on Government Street.

For Colleen Palmer, the owner of Wags, located at Government Street and Eddie Robinson Sr. Boulevard, the construction is more than an inconvenience; it has become a hindrance to her business.

"They decided to take the driveway and now we only have one entrance; one way in, one way out,” Palmer said.

According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Palmer’s driveway was removed because a permit was never pulled for that property to have an entrance to Government Street.

Construction work on Government Street is expected to be complete sometime in 2020, DOTD says.
Construction work on Government Street is expected to be complete sometime in 2020, DOTD says. (Source: WAFB)

“When we did the plans for the road diet on Government Street, we went and looked at all the driveways on Government and this is an un-permitted driveway,” said Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for DOTD. “In fact, when we did the plans, it didn’t show up as a driveway.”

Palmer says she never knew she needed to have a permit.

"The driveway has been here as long as the business has been here and that’s been the 80s,” she said. “So I don’t understand why I would have to pull a permit.”

Mallett says DOTD is working with her to get the driveway back, but only if it’s deemed safe.

"If we have driveway, driveway, driveway all the way down the road, then you’re going to increase the possibility of a crash and so what we try to do is minimize those and in a situation like this, when we do a project, we need to know where those are,” Mallett said.

The curb put in place at Wags by DOTD is keeping people from being able to get into the parking lots of the store, the business owner says.
The curb put in place at Wags by DOTD is keeping people from being able to get into the parking lots of the store, the business owner says. (Source: WAFB)

He says Palmer will have to pull a permit if she wants her driveway back, but that costs money, which Palmer says is becoming increasingly scarce.

"Business has gone down at least half because it's too much for people to get in and out of the parking lot,” she said.

She and DOTD hope to have this issue resolved in the coming weeks.

As far as the construction on Government, Mallett says it should wrap up sometime in 2020.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.