Convenience store owner feels impact from road construction

Right now Raj Bhandari, owner of Center City Convenience, 105 South Center Ave. feels like his gas station across the street from the courthouse has a bull’s eye on it and the road construction on Highway 64 that has slowed his customer flow to a trickle is the bullet. The problem has become even more pronounced since work started two weeks ago on the roundabout at the intersection of Center Avenue and First Street.

Because of the limited access to his store due to both street entrances being blocked, Bhandari has had trouble getting shipments of gasoline delivered. The only access to the station that doesn’t cross another business’ parking area is an alley that is too narrow for a regular tanker truck to negotiate. Because of this he was in danger of closing over the weekend because he was running out of stock in his underground tanks.

“I got a small load yesterday (Sunday),” he said. “They came through the ally with a very small truck. I got with the DOT and they are going to make arrangements so the truck can drive on the gravel.”

He said that this provision will mean that very soon he will be able to get full deliveries of gasoline. But while this will mean he will have plenty of gasoline to sell, he still doesn’t have nearly the daily customer flow he normally has. When he first learned of this project, he was told he would lose part of his lot to the roundabout, but he wasn’t told that both street entrances to his business would be affected.

“I was not told that I would be impacted that bad,” Bhandari said. “As a matter of fact, I am the only business that I see that has been affected at all. Yet I was told that about a year ago I should have started planning (to allow for the impact of the road closure). What planning was I supposed to do, build new driveways? Make an overpass so people could drive over the construction here?”

While his anger is mainly directed at Wisconsin DOT, he also feels the city could also be more??¢??????¨

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