TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Frustration boiled over for a New Jersey business owner who says ongoing road construction is driving business away.
The owner of Corinne Jewelers in Toms River says he’s fed up with a road project outside his shop at the intersection of Rt. 166 and Rt. 37.
“We thought we’d bring a little levity to the situation, we’ve never gotten more calls or social media hits,” owner Ryan Blumenthal said.
The safety and widening project started in March of 2016 and was delayed during Governor Chris Christie’s shutdown of construction when the transportation trust fund was depleted. The New Jersey Department of Transportation says the project is improving on and off ramps, traffic signals, and sidewalks.
Blumenthal says frustrations hit a boiling point a few weeks ago when the entrance to the jewelry store was blocked off by cones.
The response? A snarky message that crawls across an electronic sign out front.
“LONGEST CONSTRUCTION PROJECT EVER!!! 12,000,000 FOR THIS??” the sign reads.
Blumenthal says the construction has inconvenienced every business owner in the area. Nick Pagano manages the Office Restaurant and Lounge, and says the confusion surrounding the project has really hurt business.
“People can’t get to the restaurant, they have to go in a loophole to get here and they wind up going somewhere else at times,” said Pagano.
The state says the project was originally supposed to be done by June. It’s now expected to be done by the end of the year. Blumenthal says his sign will stay lit as a symbol of suffering in solidarity.
Meanwhile, the DOT says the project is also improving sidewalks to include ramps that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.