Monroe Street businesses feeling the pinch during construction - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Monroe Street businesses feeling the pinch during construction

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Traffic on Monroe Street is reduced to one lane during road construction. Traffic on Monroe Street is reduced to one lane during road construction.

MADISON (WKOW) -- It's been two months since construction crews started tearing up Monroe Street in Madison. After years of neglect, the busy road is finally getting a major renovation.

“They kept pushing the date back. This was all suppose to happened five years ago,” said Pizza Brutta General Manager Doug Broz.

But the beautification project that started in March comes with a price to local businesses.

Monroe Street is reduced to one lane of traffic while it's being resurfaced, keeping potential customers away.

“We've lost our traffic that leaves out in the morning,” said Megan Hile, owner of Madison Chocolate Co.

“Our lunches are affected the most because we don't get the campus traffic coming down because they can't really come down Monroe,” Broz said.

Business is down at Pizza Brutta, but not as bad as Broz anticipated.

“We expected to be about down 25% to 30%. But I would say we're about half that,” he said.

He said they planned well, so they didn't have to cut staff or hours.

“I know a couple of restaurants on Monroe have decided to close for lunch. But we're still staying open 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner,” Broz said.

It's a little different story at Madison Chocolate Co. on the other end of the construction project, where Hile said business has been up and down since the construction started.

“Today is Mother's Day and this has been a fantastic weekend. It's also graduation,” she said.

“Mother's Day for the restaurant industry is usually one of the busiest days of the year,” Broz said.

Both Hile and Broz were a little nervous wondering just how much the construction would affect their bottom line once it got started. But the community has rallied around them and other local businesses to help ease some of their fears.

“The neighborhood has done a really good job of coming out and supporting the local businesses, which is great. That's why we love our neighborhood here,” Broz said.

“I think without the neighbors really making an effort, it would be difficult for all of the businesses,” Hile said.

The construction will take longer to finish than expected. Officials said work will wrap up after Thanksgiving, instead of mid-November as originally planned.

“We're looking forward to the reemergence of Monroe Street after the construction,” Broz said.

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