Hennepin Ave. businesses frustrated over road construction

The mood has changed among some business owners near Hennepin Avenue after construction workers broke ground in the area on Monday. A $34 million project will replace pavement and sewer infrastructure; bringing new sidewalks, two-lane bike lanes and a bus lane along Hennepin Avenue. 

However, while neighbors say the changes are needed, they are still concerned about how a summer of changes could affect their bottom line.

"Everyone is kind of surprised, just talking to other businesses in the area, people weren’t really anticipating the scale of what was going to happen," Kyle Lee with Brim Restaurant said. "I could definitely see people not wanting to come to the area quite as much, just because they might get backed up in traffic." 

Elise Bohaty owns a wellness clinic just up the street from Lee’s restaurant.

"We’re already seeing an impact, I speak to a lot of my neighbors… we’ve seen a slow decline, even more since they just started ripping up all the roads," Bohaty said. "Construction that they’re doing is even impacting [neighbors] I think to the point where one of them might need to close. They really rely on walk-through traffic."

Project engineer Adam Hayow says city crews are working to keep business flowing. The city is not offering any financial assistance, but will begin hosting weekly meetings to update and answer questions from neighbors. 

"The sidewalks and driveways will be maintained for vehicles to come in and out," Hayow said. "The road will be closed, but will have access to local businesses, so if there’s a business on this block, the road will be open."