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Third Street roadwork affecting Bend businesses

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:54:24 AM CST   Updated On: Aug 22 2013 09:35:16 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent spoke with local businesses about impact of the Third Street road closure.

BEND, Ore. -

Traffic -- it's what many local businesses along Third Street depend on.

But each night, when the Third Street underpass construction closes the road, the cars disappear -- and so does the money.

"We're doing about half the business we were before, and we can't afford to do that," Kayo's Dinner House and Lounge owner Kayo Oakley said Wednesday.

And Oakley is not alone.

"We have felt some negative impact in people gaining access," said Hardy's owner Hardy Lussier. "Tourists have had trouble finding us."

Bend's Third Street underpass project is designed to eliminate periodic flooding and reroute stormwater in environmentally safe fashion.

The construction began in June, closing down the road each week night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

For restaurants and businesses relying on nighttime customers, it's been a slow and painful summer.

And more bad news: The project was supposed to finish up in the end of August -- but now crews will keep working until at least mid-September.

"It's best for us to just close at 8 o'clock and live with it," Oakley said.  "At least we keep payroll down."

Oakley said his restaurant doesn't open until 4 p.m. and relies on a late-dinner crowd.

Lussier has signs posted around his restaurant, letting customers know he's still open for business during construction and giving them directions for how they can navigate detours.

"I'm very grateful to the local clientele that maybe has to go out of their way to get to us in the late summer dinner hour," Lussier said.

But Lussier also said he fully supports the project, and says the sacrifice is worth it.

"It's the starting point for improving this vicinity of Third Street," he said.  "I think some improvements aesthetically are much needed. What I'd like to see would actually be a crosswalk."

But it in the meantime, these business are just ready to get back to work.

City officials told NewsChannel 21 the project is in its third phase, and the road will continue to be shut down at night until the project is finished.

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