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Frustrations continue for business owners as Church St. construction faces delay

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 8:39 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The completion of construction work around Church St., Pratt Ave. and University Dr. in Huntsville is being pushed back to September.

Back in February, as the new intersection of Church St. and Pratt Ave. had a soft reopening, WAFF 48 was told the project should be all finished by May.

Huntsville City Engineer Kathy Martin said the contractor has given her two reasons for the delay: weather and utilities.

She said rainy weather caused wet conditions and created unsafe working days this spring.

The other issues is utility poles and the process it takes to move them around while construction, and traffic, continue. Martin said utilities have to go from temporary poles onto permeant poles and this process can take time.

“It’s one of those multi-phased approaches due to the way this project was reconfiguring all the roadways and keeping traffic on those roadways,” Martin said.

Martin wants to remind people this is a large project with a lot of moving parts as the contractor works to build two new bridges, a brand new intersection and tie in all of the side roads

The continuing work is frustrating for Victor Howard, he owns Discount Bonding Company on Wheeler Ave.

“It seems like they’re going to get to the point where they’re going to finish it and then they stop and they go do something else in another area,” Howard said.

He said construction can really complicate his business.

“They brought in backhoes, large machinery, so every time they set up on this road they would block off my parking lot and I couldn’t use this road while they were doing construction,” he said.

Howard said during the last nine months construction has really picked up.

“They have three separate times dug up the water lines in three locations in front of my building, they’ve also put that peninsula in there and that’s been sitting there for several months and they’ve got a drainage vent right there and they haven’t finished this and its been sitting idle there for several months now,” he said.

Construction on one of those water lines is actually taking up one of his parking spaces. He said a crew came out and worked on it, put orange cones around the unfinished job and left. Howard said it’s been like that for weeks now.

Martin said she’ll look into the issue. She said she knows the project has been difficult for businesses nearby.

“I know it’s been very, very painful for them but I hope that once the brand new road is constructed and once its widened and improved access to their businesses will be even better,” Martin said.

Howard said he’s used to the frustration at this point and just looking forward to the entire project being finished.

“We’re just excited to see it get done so we’ll have a parking lot again, so people will have access to my business again,” he said.

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