GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - When construction work started on Courthouse Road , businesses were promised a more inviting street.
Fifteen months later, those businesses are wondering when will the work end. Bella Grace Gifts owner Penny Sullivan is anxiously waiting to see the improvements on Courthouse Rd.
“I think it’s going to look great, I think it’s going to look really nice and I think it’s going to be more inviting for people to come,” said Sullivan. Outside of her shop, she can see a torn up road and traffic cones.
“It’s just a mess, it doesn’t look good, it’s not comfortable to drive and it’s just a mess right now,” Sullivan said.
Ground was broken for work to begin on Courthouse Rd. in June of last year and construction started later that month. The original agreement between the city and Jay Bearden Construction called for the work to be completed in 211 working days.
According to Jay Bearden the project is now 40 days behind schedule and his company is having to pay a penalty of $830 for each day the work isn't completed.
Owner of Fleur De Lis Gourmet Bakery Jason Brewer said just getting to his store has been a headache for many of his customers. “I have had some customers who have said, ‘I hate coming over to Courthouse because it is such a mess,’” said Brewer.
Brewer is approaching what would normally be his busiest season, and he’s hopeful the construction won’t cost him customers.
“My concern is the effects it’s going to have on our holiday business and Cruisin' the Coast coming up, whether people are going to want to make the trip on Courthouse to get our goods,” said Brewer.
Contractor Jay Bearden said completion of the project was pushed backed after problems were discovered including how to configure the updates with storm drains. Bearden now says the target timeline for completion is in 60-90 days. The finish for the construction can’t come soon enough for store owners like Penny Sullivan.
“I can’t wait for it to be over and I think it’s going to be awesome when it’s over,” said Sullivan.
City officials said at this time they don’t want to comment on the construction progress of Courthouse Rd.