PROVO (ABC4 News) – For the past two years, Utah Transit Authority has been working on a major construction project in downtown Provo.
“This is a mass transit system that connects both universities, both shopping centers, it also connects both UTA stations, Orem and Provo,” said Chad Thomas with Provo City Economic Development.
It’s all part of a plan to improve transportation in the area, but some shops say it’s causing a headache for their business. Restaurant owner Chad Pritchard says construction has some shops struggling.
“It’s wreaked havoc on their sidewalks, they’re torn up, it becomes problematic for them. And much to UTA’s credit, they say hey these businesses are open, but the reality is construction on this mass of a scale does affect businesses,” said Pritchard.
Quinn Peterson with Downtown Provo, Inc. says it hasn’t been an easy transition.
“It’s definitely been hard while the cones have been out and the people have been working in the streets to get access to some of the businesses downtown,” said Peterson.
However, he says, in the long run, the project will be beneficial for the area.
“We’re glad to have this problem because this is a problem that you only have when your downtown is thriving,” Peterson also said.
UTA sent ABC4 this statement:
The Utah Transit Authority is sensitive to the impact the construction of the Provo/Orem BRT project has had on some local businesses. UTA has kept a constant line of communication open with business owners throughout the construction period and has supported them with promotional campaigns aimed at increasing foot traffic through their doors. UTA has also made a concerted effort to inform the public these proprietors are open for business and that parking has been made available for patrons. UTA appreciates and understands the concerns, and our organization is doing everything possible to finish construction of our platforms and designated lanes by early to mid-December. UTA thanks everyone in the affected areas for their patience while a project that is already paying dividends and benefiting the community is brought to completion.
UTA officials say the construction is set to be complete by mid-December.
Business owners, UTA officials, and city officials met Thursday to discuss ways they can help the business owners during the final weeks of construction.
Owner of Lucy’s Brazilian Kitchen Scott Wyssling says most of the businesses are optimistic moving forward.
“We are hopeful that they are going to try and help and we still are going to work with the city to hopefully see if there’s some offset on the cost that we’ve been extending with having this lower economic revenue that has been coming in,” said Wyssling.
Wyssling says although they have been struggling, they are looking into new ways to help the businesses. They talked about contractors look to only put barriers up when they are doing work, and not at all times. He says the city also mentioned possibly being able to help offset with utility costs.
Officials and business owners are also meeting again on Monday to discuss marketing strategies to help moving forward.