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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
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Businesses deal with detour as DOT crews continue Hart Brook culvert work


ADAMS — Nearly two weeks into the closure of a section of Route 11, businesses owners say the construction project has damaged their bottom lines.

“It’s been affected dramatically,” said Robin S. McDermott, owner of McDermott’s Midtown Deli. “It’s affected everybody on this road.”

The culvert replacement project at Hart Brook, between Michael Road and Spook Hill Road, cuts the primary link between the village of Adams and the hamlet of Adams Center.

Traffic is being detoured along routes 177 and 178 and Interstate 81, and away from businesses closer to the work zone.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Michael R. Flick said that crews placed the first of several large precast culvert pieces on Friday, and that if the pieces weren’t fully installed by the end of the day, work would wrap up Monday. However, more work at the culvert is necessary before the road could be re-opened.

He added that the timetable of early September for completing the project was the contractual deadline, and that the work could end sooner. The full closure was done so the work could be completed in time for the start of school.

“We’re moving as quickly as possible to get this done as soon as possible,” Mr. Flick said.

Michael W. Behling, owner of the Behling’s Spookhill Farms store at 12139 Route 11, said Friday afternoon that he was told the work could be done around Aug. 21 or 22, a potential reprieve for businesses.

Since the start of the closure on July 29, Ms. McDermott said the revenues for her business, at 10412 Route 11, have been slashed in half. She said many customers with 30-minute lunch breaks can’t navigate through the restricted road areas in time to get to her restaurant and get back to work.

Other businesses also facing the impact of the closure are Fuccillo’s Auto Mall, Tops Friendly Supermarkets, Subway, Ace Hardware and Stewart’s Shoppe.

Ms. McDermott said the road closure has also created confusion for her suppliers and added costly time to her delivery runs.

“No matter which way I’m going, it’s out of my way now,” she said.

Mr. Behling said the closure led to the loss of about half of his normal business. However, with additional advertising and outreach, he was able to get his sales to about three-fourths of regular levels.

“It’s nice to be able to do something a little better,” he said. “Yeah, it does hurt some, but we’re going to get through.”

Overall, he said the closure has already cost him a few thousand dollars. To help deal with the decline, he said he has reduced hours and laid off three to four part-time employees. Mr. Behling said he hoped to bring them back if business improved following the reopening of the road.

In the meantime, he said he’s had to work hard to keep his loyal customers happy.

“People tell me it’s a pain in the rear to come in,” Mr. Behling said. “I say thank you for coming in anyway.”

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