Businesses along 3rd Ave SE worried about construction impacts

Businesses along 3rd Ave SE worried about construction impacts

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(ABC 6 News) – MnDOT, Olmsted County and the city of Rochester announced today the beginning of their road construction season. And, as always, this means some inconveniences for those who may use the road they are working on.

County Road 146, better known as Third Avenue Southeast, sees a lot of traffic and the road is lined with businesses. Some are very concerned about how the construction will impact them when crews start showing up.

“Oh, it’s a terrible road. I drive lower vehicles and I have to go very slow. I cannot go the speed limit on this road,” said Chris Dewerd the co-owner of “The Fridge” on Third Avenue Southeast

Olmsted County will start improvement on County Road 146 in Rochester the week of May 6. It will be repaved and restriped from Highway 14 to Broadway Avenue South.

“It’s going to be a single two-lane road with a center left turn lane throughout the whole project. We are redoing the signals at 16 Street, so we will have some dedicated left turns in there which should move traffic a lot better,” said Olmsted County transportation construction manager Scott Holmes.

According to the county, construction should only last a month or so. But while the road receives much needed work, business owners like Dewerd are worried how it could impact their bottom line.

“Yeah, this is like the worst news we’ve had since we opened, for sure,” said Dewerd.

The Fridge opened up in November 2023 and Deward is concerned the young business will have a hard time getting new and existing customers in the door.

“Our products are hard to sell in other venues, other than our own. We might have to look into going to some sort of events more. I guess we’ll just see where it goes. I don’t know what will happen, I guess,” said Dewerd.

Luckily the road won’t be completely closed to traffic.

“With the resurfacing project it probably will be kept open to traffic. You know, a lane in each direction. Things will be tightened up a little bit. People will be able to get through there, but it will be a little bit slower. So, it would be nice to avoid it if you could,” said Holmes.

“I’ll trust them, if they think that’s what we need. We’ll take it, I just hope they’re quick,” said Deward.

But it’s those smaller, tighter lanes that has every business that ABC 6 News spoke with worried.

Many of them have large trucks and semis coming in and out of their parking lots all day, and business owners aren’t sure what they are going to do if the trucks can’t get in.