Impacted businesses say construction is hurting profit
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE - Local businesses said the road construction happening on South Wickham Road from the stretch of 192 to Old Nasa Boulevard is hurting business.
"(It's hurting us) by about 30 percent," said Rebecca Goodman, employee and daughter of the owner of Love Bug's Bakery on South Wickham Road. "(The construction) has made it very difficult for people to access our driveway. The cones and digging up the area makes it harsh for people trying to pull in."
Down the street, Don Guilbert, owner of Card Collector's Heaven, agreed that there has been a noticeable decline in his business.
"I think people stay away from this area," he said. "When they block our driveways, (it hurts business). It may be the economy hurting my business just as much. I can't really give a definite number but, yes (it has been hurting)."
Michael Baczynsky, project manager for the Wickham Road Reconstruction Project, said the Port Orange-based construction company, The Masci Corporation, is working with businesses located along the construction zone in an attempt to best accommodate their needs.
"We do our best to see that the public has access (to these businesses)," he said. "We have signs showing the businesses on the side of the road. We tell the owners that, if they have any issues, to contact us. We jump on their issues pretty quickly."
However, both Ms. Goodman and Mr. Guilbert said they had never received contact information from the construction company to send their concerns.
After presenting him with these concerns, Mr. Baczynsky had no comment and said a representative with Brevard County, who initiated the project, would be better equipped to answer this question.
Richard Szpyrka, Brevard County public works engineering program manager, said that to his understanding, all of the businesses affected were given the construction company's contact information, but said he did not know for certain.
Despite the concerns of impacting local business, Mr. Baczynsky said the construction is currently on schedule, and the traffic flow has not imposed a problem.
"Everything has been going as planned," Mr. Baczynsky said. "The traffic has been a big surprise. It's moving, and that's due to the guys working and keeping it safe."
Mr. Szpyrka said the $6.3 million, 507-day project that began on March 12 is expanding the road.
"The roadway is being widened to add a center turn lane to increase capacity," he said. "The project is being paid out of gas taxes."
According to Gaspricewatch.com, the federal government issues 18.4 cents-per-gallon taxes on gas and 24.4 cents-per-gallon taxes for diesel fuel. On average, a state charges 49.5 cents per gallon for gas and 54.6 cents per gallon for diesel. These numbers include state and federal gas taxes.
Florida currently charges 53.4 cents-per-gallon on gas and 54.9 cents-per-gallon on diesel, above the national average.
The Masci Corporation was awarded the construction project by being the lowest bidder.
The project is expected to be completed by August of next year.