It’s certainly good news for commuters in Edmond. Three lanes of Broadway near 33rd are finally open after months of construction. But for a lot of business owners, that’s not good enough.
Empty booths and tables have become a pretty common sight at Old School Bagel in Edmond over the past few months. You can blame it on the construction. The daily traffic jams mean people are avoiding the area and area businesses.
“You know, social media, twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Everyone telling you don’t go down 33rd” Old School Bagel owner Michael Leel said, “It’s a nightmare.”
And that means business is a nightmare. At Old school Bagel sales are down 40-percent since the road widening project began in July.
Business is down at Outback Steakhouse too, where the manager tells us business is crawling slower than this traffic out front.
“It seems easier for people to just kind of drive on by than to have to wait”, Manager Sarah Simpson said, “Especially if the traffic gets backed up all the way past the stoplight. It’s just they’re frustrated and ready to go home.”
The city is trying to discourage commuters from using the road while encouraging customers to continue patronizing businesses in the area.
“If it’s local traffic needing to go and do business, certainly we would highly encourage people to still go to the area, do your business in the area,” said city spokesman Casey Moore, “If you’re just driving through commuting we have been encouraging people to look for another route.”
The city says construction is on schedule to be completed in June.
Business owners are trying to tough it out until the roadwork is done.
“I’ve been through the traffic. I go through it every morning. Every day I leave and it’s tough.” Leel said. “But we’re still trying to make a living out here.”