Rochester business feels detour impacts

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Construction season is ramping up in downtown Rochester. Last week, the North Broadway Avenue Construction project expanded — closing down the blocks between 13th Street/Silver Lake Drive to 7th Street. “We get, you know, probably ten calls a day,” Shoe and Zipper Repair Owner Mike Derouin […]

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Construction season is ramping up in downtown Rochester.

Last week, the North Broadway Avenue Construction project expanded — closing down the blocks between 13th Street/Silver Lake Drive to 7th Street.

“We get, you know, probably ten calls a day,” Shoe and Zipper Repair Owner Mike Derouin said. “How do we get to your place now? So, people are still trying to get here.”

Derouin is one of the many along the six block strip that has a store front impacted by the construction project. While residents and business owners knew it was happening–as it’s been in the works since at least 2018–like any construction project, it’s a nuisance for those dealing with it.

“Well, it doesn’t help,” Derouin said. “The biggest thing is accessibility. We just started recovering from the COVID thing. Being shut down from that, recovering from that. And then this thing starts. Its just kind of a double whammy. But, you know, you do what you gotta do I guess.”

MOKA Operations Manager Brittni Weber is looking forward to the road’s completion.

“It will put us back in full swing again,” Weber said. “It will allow us to get both entrances back. And there will be no confusion on how to get to MOKA.”

Weber adds that MOKA customers are loyal, and if they can’t find a way to their Broadway location, she’ll often see familiar faces at other locations instead.

North Broadway Avenue is closed to traffic from 13 Street to 7 Street.

Over at Hirschfield’s, management worries about issues the finished product may bring.

“There will be a median here,” Hirschfield’s manager NicoleLange said, pointing outside the store’s Broadway entrance. “So, I’ll have to find a new way for semis to get in this entrance.”

City of Rochester Assistant Engineer Tyler Niemeyer says it took a while to flush details out on the project — and while its initial intent was to fix the road’s infrastructure, his team is also giving the path to downtown a makeover.

Niemeyer says those directly impacted by the construction have been able to come along for the ride; giving input and feedback through out the process.

“We knew from this project that it was going to be disruptive,” Niemeyer said. “So, it’s sort of an all hands on deck approach. We’ve got a large team specifically focused on making sure those businesses are taken car of and communicating well.”

“There’s going to be a lot more accessibility for bikes and pedestrians,” he said. “As well as revitalizing the corridor and making it into a showcased piece coming into downtown.”

Niemeyer says the city works to send an email update to those subscribed to newsletters, every other week. There’s also an update on its website.

“It’s nice,” Lange said. “To have the anticipation and know what’s going to happen before.”

Parts of the road are expected to open up in late August, but drivers won’t be able to completely travel through North Broadway Avenue until November.

To look at a detailed plan of the Broadway Avenue Reconstruction Project, click here.

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