GRETNA (kptm) - A construction project in Gretna has drivers frustrated and businesses fed up.
Highway 370 was supposed to be complete the first of September. It's still not done and now one local store says it may have to shut its doors for good.
It's been family owned and operated for over 17 years; now McKinney's grocery store in Gretna could face the possibility of having to close. The owner says it's all because construction blocks the entrances to the business. "We've been around. I've fought other businesses and everything else but I can't fight the highway, it's just impossible," Bob McKinney said.
He said delayed road construction is a problem that may deal his business a deadly blow after being open for nearly two decades.
According to the Department of Roads, thousands of vehicles travel highway 370 every day, but lately frustrated drivers are finding new routes to avoid construction. "It should have been done a long time ago. I don't understand, you could work 24/7; you only got a window of so long with the weather you know...you're in Nebraska. I don't understand why they don't get the job done when they have the weather on their side," Larry Knihal said.
Now lane closures have caused confusion for McKinney's customers and it's affecting his sales tremendously. "My loan payment doesn't change, utilities don't change, you can really only cut your help so far, you don't want to lose them, you got people that are familiar with you and they've been around quite a while," he said.
He said there is one thing that really bugs him. He says the crews come out and work for just a few hours and then they leave their equipment just lying around. "You just go through days like today. Where they at today? You drove the roads; you didn't see anybody from the construction company doing anything. Is there a reason for it? I don't know, I can't find out, I just know they don't show up on a regular basis," McKinney said.
"You don't see them on the weekends either, it's mind boggling. Where I work you got to work weekends too," Knihal said.
McKinney said he'd give his business six months after construction on highway 370 is complete. He hopes in that amount of time customers will come back and sales will go up.
The project was delayed after crews faced a utility problem. They also decided to add another turn lane.
The Nebraska department of roads expects the project to be fully completed by October 7th.
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