Inland Empire News
215 Fwy construction costing businesses
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino city officials say that this is a substantial construction project. Not only is it going to widen the 215 Freeway, it will also provide thousands of jobs.
However business in the area might have a different take. They say this project is killing them.
"Local businesses open during construction," reads a sign near the 215 Freeway.
According to the sign, it's simple. If only it were that easy.
"It's been terrible, absolutely terrible," says Chaparral Motorsports owner Linda Damron.
Damron says it's no wonder business is down 50 percent. Sure, the country is in a recession, but with all of the construction, she says customers have to practically navigate through a maze just to get here.
"It's really hard to find yourself back down here to our facility," says Damron.
But San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris says improving this freeway is essential for the city.
"The tragedy of this freeway, with its old 1959 construction, is that it put all of the on and off ramps to the east," says Morris.
"This literally became the Great Wall of China for our city," he adds.
But Morris is hoping that with this project, things will change with easier on and off ramps and a wider freeway.
The project is in phase two of the now, widening the freeway from the 10 Freeway up to Rialto Avenue.
Phase three will begin Monday, continuing the project north through Massachusetts Avenue.
After that, phase four will lead the project up to the 210 Freeway.
The entire project is slated to be completed in 2013.
"We're asking for their understanding. They do understand that this is a short-term pain for the long-term glorious benefit," says Morris.
This is only if those businesses can survive.
Brad Singer, owner of Singer Carpets, says he's already seen places around him call it quits.
"Had this been taken on four or five years ago, it would have had much less of an effect, but you combine the construction project, the closing of the off ramp and the recession all at once, it's definitely had a negative effect," says Singer. Officials told Eyewitness News that this project is the first construction project in the country to use federal stimulus money.
inland empire news, rob mcmillan
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