Gautier businesses suffering because of road work

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Eastbound Highway 90 in Gautier is a mess.  There are construction barriers at every turn as works crews add a third lane.  All this work has put a stop on running a profitable business along the highway these days.

Jim Browning owns Coast Building Supply.  One look down the empty aisles of his store says it all, no customers and not a lot of cash flow.  He says access to his business changes every day.

"You never know which way you're going to be able to get in here, at any time, until you get here."

While most of the businesses on Highway 90 in Gautier are surviving with the help of their loyal customers, it's the loss of potential customers that has these businesses worried.

At the Petit Bois Cafe,  Michael Majure is not serving up nearly as many meals as he used to.  His says his business has almost been cut in half.

"Potential customers, you know they ones that just drive by and say, 'It's too difficult because I don't know my way around. Where should I turn?' They're probably going to drive right on by."

Dr. William McDevitt owns the Gautier Animal Clinic.  He takes a more optimistic approach to the loss of possible patients.

"It's tough to live with this now, but how nice is it going to be when they finish?" McDevitt said.  "We have to go through a growing process."

Because of the work, city medians have become eyesores, and that is frustrating for Mayor Tommy Fortenberry.

"What the citizens of Gautier need to understand is that as long as there's construction work going out on the highway, we can't mow our medians."

And a little more understanding is all that anyone can hope for until the job is done.

One of the contractors we talked with said bad weather has put the project behind. It was supposed to be finished by the middle of next month, but a more realistic date for completion is the end of the year.

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