M-35 construction in Gwinn slows business sales
GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - As construction on M-35 in Gwinn continues some businesses in the area are feeling the effects.
The $4.4 million project involves renovating M-35 from east of Smith Street to the east branch of the Escanaba River. Forsyth Township Supervisor Joe Boogren says the township is also replacing its water and sewer lines and adding a storm drain.
“It would have been irresponsible for the township not to replace its water and sewer lines and the fact that we elected to do that and make this a $4 million project. It’s something that everybody will enjoy for the next 60 or 70 years,” Boogren said.
The project was intended to be complete by November, but plans have changed. Boogren says construction is behind schedule for a couple of reasons:
“Weather has an impact, the ability for the paving company to get on schedule and have asphalt to do the job and a significant challenge is available workforce,” Boogren said.
In July we spoke to Poppi’s Pizzeria Mozzi, who said business slowed by about 50%. The owner of Daisy Jo’s in downtown Gwinn Danielle Hammond says her business took a similar hit.
“July, we dropped down about 50%. Early on it took a couple of weeks for the locals to get used to how to get around and stuff. We did pick up a little bit and up to about 75% I would say so down about 25 from last year,” Hammond said.
Hammond says about 10 other businesses along that stretch of road have been affected similarly. But she says community support has been incredibly helpful.
“Luckily Gwinn is known for their awesome community and our regulars and our customer base and everyone who knows their way around the area are still supporting us. They’re still here 100%. They’ve been great to us. They figure out a way to get here,” Hammond said.
Boogren says crews will work to complete as much of the project as they can this year. He says the next two phases of the construction will begin next spring.
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