Businesses Feel Crunch Too

When the barrels, barriers and signs went up all over the place near the Creosote Road and Highway 49 intersection, it set up a traffic pattern that not only affected cars but businesses in the area. For some retailers, it's a time of year when they make their most money.

Sharon Romeo is a manager at Home Depot and she says they have felt it. "This is like our Christmas, and we have seen a decrease in business due to the road work out in front of the store."

Jeff Savarese owns a furniture store on Creosote Road and says he's still doing all right at the cash register. "I can't complain about the sales what we're missing mostly is the walk-in traffic; a lot of people who would stop across the street usually come in here a lot of times, but we just don't see as much traffic through the store as we have been seeing."

Pam Meinzinger is the General Manager at Prime Outlets of Gulfport and says, "We've seen a little decrease in our traffic. I think our customers just don't realize they still can get to us."

Prime Outlets and Home Depot have teamed up to try to overcome the problems this construction project is causing. Coming off of I-10 and heading south is no problem, but travelling north on 49 is, so They've put up signs on Airport Road and on Highway 49 to remind motorists they're still open and you can get there from here.

"I think the signs have helped the travellers both from the north and for the locals to know where we are and an alternate route that they can get to us," Romeo says.

Meinzinger agrees, "They can make a detour by Toucan's and get to us very easily or Airport Road is very easily accessible."

Although there isn't a best time for MDOT to do this work, the business owners know it's needed. Sharon Romeo says, "Overall, what we're interested in is that that railroad tracks get fixed, and in the long run I think the railroad tracks will be an improvement on 49, and we should have better business because of it."

MDOT and Kansas City Southern Railroad are working together to reconstruct the bumpy crossing. The work will be done in three sections and the total cost will be a half million dollars.