ROCKY HILL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some small businesses in Somerset County say a stalled construction project is costing them big time.
Orange cones and signs signaling detours have put a stop to traffic across the Delaware and Raritan Canal into the small borough of Rocky Hill, New Jersey, causing major pains for small businesses in the area, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
Store owner John Shedd blamed Trenton politics and said on a scale from one to 10, his frustration level is, “I can’t imagine it being an 11, but it’s an 11.”
The area’s main traffic route has been closed since construction began on the Route 518 bridge in July. The $2.75 million state-funded project was shut down days later when Gov. Chris Christie ordered that non-essential road projects be stopped because of a lack of funding for the state’s transportation trust fund.
Shedd said he makes most of his income at the end of the year around the holidays.
“I’m off 60 percent from last year,” he said.
Businesses in the strip mall off Rt. 518 and Rt. 206 have been hit so hard, they have had to cut employees.
The owner of one pizzeria, Vera Pizza, let three people go after calls were not coming in from across the way, because the pizza took too long to get there.
“I’ve got two delivery guys left,” owner Maurizio Iovine said.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation said the bridge requires a long-term closure so it can be reconstructed, because of severe deterioration of the support beams.
Shannon Scott travels to work from South Brunswick, which used to be an easy ride.
“It takes so long, so annoying,” she said. When asked whether she thinks customers feel the same frustration, she replied, “I’m sure they do.”
According to the state, “the project is expected to be completed in February, however it is difficult to provide and exact date for completion because of the possibility of winter weather affecting work.”
Businesses are hoping people will go the extra few miles and help them survive until the finish line.
The project was originally slated to be completed by August.