The estimated completion date of a road-widening project on the northshore is pushed back yet again. Some business owners along Highway 190 say they desperately need the construction to finish in order to save them from going under.
VooDoo BBQ owner Roger Mitchell is hanging on by a thread. "I don't know how we're going to do it. I'm gonna fight as hard as I can to keep these guys going," said Mitchell.
Mitchell doesn't want to let any employees go, but he also doesn't know how much longer he can operate because sales are so low. Construction along Highway 190 has made getting to Mitchell's restaurant a nightmare.
The project, which started last April, was supposed to be done by now. Instead, the DOTD says it won't be completed until November.
"There are some things that I am sure should've been done better from the day it started," said Mandeville councilman Rick Danielson. "We've been fighting a battle, everybody has, but it's time to move this thing forward and move it forward as quickly as possible,"
After receiving so many complaints, Danielson called a special meeting last week to question the DOTD and the project's contractor, Command Construction, about the delays. A spokesperson for the DOTD admits there have been issues. Work has slowed at times because of the weather and this week, crews will remove 150 meters of curbs and gutters because they were the wrong elevation.
Roger Mitchell says he understands every major project has setbacks, but it's causing his and other businesses to suffer. "We took one for the team for a year and I asked this in the city council meeting, when is the team gonna take one for us and give us some type of break, give us some type of tax relief, give us something to help us sustain and get through the hard times knowing that there was a mistake, a lot of mistakes on the part of the contractor?" said Mitchell.
Rick Danielson says he and other council members will stay on top of the timeline because keeping these business owners afloat is their No. 1 priority.
The council will hold end-of-month public meetings every month until the Highway 190 widening project is finished. Danielson says representatives from Command Construction and the DOTD will be invited to every meeting to provide updates.
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