Businesses say Pass Road construction driving away customers

Sophi's Mediterranean Cafe and Market on Pass Road in Biloxi says business is hurting due to road work. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Sophi's Mediterranean Cafe and Market on Pass Road in Biloxi says business is hurting due to road work. (Photo source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Although roadwork along Pass Road in Biloxi is ahead of schedule, businesses near the construction site say it's hurting their bottom-line.

The $300,000 drainage repair project, which began last month, is set for completion in mid-November.

Businesses in the area, such as Sophi's Mediterranean Cafe and Market, say business has been down around 20 percent since the cones and other barricades went up.

"It is really frustrating," said LaiLa Saab, a chef at Sophi's. "The business is so down since they put these on the street. We used to have our restaurant full. Like yesterday, last night we only had one table. That's not good. Because the owner has to pay waitresses, chef, it's not working,"

The owner of Sophi's said that two waitresses have quit within the last two weeks due to the lack of customers.

Saab said she is aggravated because the barricades are deterring customers, especially since she rarely sees workers fixing the drainage.

"They work one day or a couple of days," said Saab. "Then for three days, four days they didn't do anything. That's not right."

According to City of Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel, there's a reason workers haven't been there recently.

"This project involves pouring concrete around eight new manholes that are being put on Pass Road," said Creel. "What happens is whenever they pour that concrete they have to wait three to five days to wait for that concrete to cure. During that time you can't have any heavy equipment working around that concrete, otherwise it will crack."

However, Creel said the good news is all eight of the manholes are poured.

"What you're going to see next is the contractors are going to be moving the forms, the wooden forms around those man holes," stated Creel. "And then the city is going to be putting limestone in there, and then the last week of October, you're going to be seeing paving in there."

"I lived in Vegas all my life, and if they wanted to try to do something on the street, they work at night. In the morning, everything is clear," said Saab. "It's not like here. I hope they make the workers work even more hours to get the job done."

Though it is frustrating to most of the businesses, the city said it's work that has to be done.

"No matter when you do work, there's going to be some type of inconvenience and there's going to be some major event," said Creel. "Whenever we're behind, we apologize and we take steps to correct it, but in this case, we did everything we said we were going to do."

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