Once Again Used & New will close up for about two weeks because of the road closure
SUPERIOR, Wisc. – Construction along a portion of Belknap Street in Superior is about to be shut off later this week, leaving some local businesses with some difficult decisions.
Store owners have known for years this road construction project would affect them this summer and for some, they’re now facing the reality of what it will mean for their future in the community.
“The dust, the dirt, the mud from the rain, you deal with it,” said Twila Uotinen, owner of Once Again Used & New.
For the last two weeks, that’s been the view for Uotinen, as construction has taken over right outside her door.
“It hurts, but other than that I think they’re doing the best they can with the short amount of time they have to work with.”
As the owner of a small home décor shop along Belknap, she’s trying to keep a positive outlook. However, with this main road closing later this week to install storm sewer and water main pipes, she’s decided to close up for about two weeks beginning this Saturday.
“I figure instead of stressing that I won’t have any customers, that I might as well just close the doors for a while,” Uotinen said. “That will hurt, but it’ll be OK, I’ll be OK.”
Starting Saturday, both lanes of Belknap will be shut down from Catlin Avenue and East 5th Street, re–opening June 30.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says there will still be access to all businesses along Belknap, but you will have to find a way around the construction using side streets.
“It’s not convenient, but I’d like to encourage everyone to keep coming [to local businesses], they all do have access,” said Brendan Dirkes, WisDOT project manager for the Belknap reconstruction project. “I’m sure they could all use your support during this construction.”
Meanwhile, on the other end of Belknap, Northwest Outlet has already seen the effects of months of construction right outside their doors.
“There’s no way to get around it being a pain,” said Scott Miller with Northwest Outlet. “Construction detours have reduced traffic flow. We have noticed a drop in walk-ins.”
While the short term effects are tough, most business we spoke with seem to agree the work being done to fix the streets leading to their doors will be worth it in the long run.
“I’m looking past that thinking that it’s going to be great when it’s done,” said Uotinen. “The road’s going to be beautiful. It’s a busy street anyway so it can only help my business.”
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says construction on Belknap is a little behind schedule due to some rainy weather and materials issues, but say the work should be back on track later this summer.