Construction At Peoria Avenue & I-44 May Hurt Business
By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Motorists who want to take Peoria from I-44, better look for another way because the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has closed that intersection.
All lanes of north and southbound Peoria at the I-44 Junction are closed for about three months.
There are road closure signs posted, but drivers must be missing them and are having to turn around. The business owners there hope drivers will stop inside, otherwise the construction is driving business away.
"It's going to be fantastic when it's finished. It's just going to be biting the bullet for three months in order for that to happen," said Jake Phillips, Phillips Design Market.
Phillips Design Market reports business is already hurting because of Peoria's closure at the I-44 Junction.
"Now we've got this problem on Peoria. People can't go north. People can't go south," said Jake Phillips.
As construction crews work on the drainage structure, Phillips works on a way to get customers to his store despite the closure.
"A carrot's going to have to be out there somewhere so that they're willing to suffer the full on traffic detour," said Jake Phillips.
Phillips Design Market isn't the only business affected. China Wok store owners say they saw half of the usual lunch crowd.
"Usually now time, like 12:00, customers come in. No more. Business slow down," said Jin Lin, China Wok.
Slow business, but the parking lot is seeing heavy traffic as people whip around.
"Now I have to detour all the way back around and go all the way back around just to get a block from where I need to go," said Melva Long, a Tulsa resident. "This is crazy, all this construction going on, and in the middle of winter."
ODOT dangled their carrot to the construction companies. They're confident the project will be complete by Christmas.
"There is an incentive built into this phase of about $10,000 per day," said Matt Casillas, ODOT Project Manager.
Incentives for construction to finish early, as Phillips Design Market and China Wok think of ways to make the detour worth it.
"I have to be optimistic though, and I mean, I have to do whatever it's going to take in order to induce people to come in because I don't want to shoot myself in the foot," said Jake Phillips.
Drivers need to use Riverside or Lewis as the detour routes around the work zone.
Daily lane and ramp closures are noted in the traffic advisories section of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation web site.