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August 20, 2013

Hamburg Pike in Jeffersonville a costly construction project

Business owners, city officials frustrated over delays

JEFFERSONVILLE — With another time extension on the table, delays in the Hamburg Pike road-widening project are testing the patience of business owners and Jeffersonville officials.

Even with a possible completion date of later this month — the most recent missed date was July 12 — project costs are adding up and business is being disrupted along the thoroughfare.

Frank Harley, owner of Harley’s Hardwoodz BBQ, estimated he’s lost $15,000 to $20,000 annually while the road construction has been ongoing. He said his sales dropped nearly 40 percent in the first year and has remained down 20 percent in the second year of construction.

In a 2012 report by the News and Tribune, Qik-Lube Owner Jerry Bott said sales had dropped 30 percent while the construction work was taking place. Judy Fuchs, office manager at Qik-Lube, said while there has been some improvement, sales are still down about 10 percent.

“It’s not as bad as last year,” Fuchs said. “People just refused to go down the street.”

Harley agreed things are getting better, but his business has felt the brunt of the closure and he was not particularly optimistic about business picking up once the road is finally completed.

“Most people still don’t come down that road because they’ve retrained themselves to go other ways,” he said. “I’m hoping that’ll happen but I don’t know,” he said of the customers returning. “I am very frustrated about it.”

Harley said once the construction began, he lost a significant amount of business he was getting from the U.S. Census Bureau and Clark Memorial Hospital. At one time he said he was selling 40 to 50 dinners per week to census bureau employees, which has since disappeared. The lunch business from the hospital also stopped.

“They weren’t going to come down and wait in line 30 to 45 minutes when they only have 30 minutes to an hour for lunch,” he said.

Harley said he has been able to weather the storm because he has been paying employees more than he’s paying himself; also, online reviews and dining out websites have helped to bring in customers from Louisville and he didn’t have any outstanding debt on the business that he had to manage.

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