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Construction Hurts Business and Shakes Drivers

<strong><font size=2>&nbsp;</font></strong> <P>A Wichita Falls street rehab project along a busy downtown street is getting a bumpy reception. </P> <P>The city had a contractor repaved a portion of Scott Avenue and install valley gutters to improve drainage.</P> <P>But as Mechell Dixon found out, the overall project is shaking up drivers and hurting businesses.</P>

The 2012 Street Rehab Project in Wichita Falls, which included a section of Scott Avenue,

cost nearly $3 million but workers at one business on Scott, as well as many drivers along that busy road, say the project has also cost them a pretty penny.

Five days a week workers at Pat's Drive-In prepare for the lunchtime rush.

But over the past few weeks, workers say construction on Scott Avenue actually drove down business.

"It's just totally devastated us. We knew nothing about it coming. We knew nothing about it happening. They did not help our customers get in. They would not let our delivery people come through. They have not helped up whatsoever in keeping our business going," says Christie Czajkowski, who works at Pat's Drive-In.

"They had one sign and unless you're really looking for it, or she says where it's at, you really can't,... you don't know where to go. So, you have to look for it," says Missy Arrendondo, who eats at Pat's Drive-In.

Construction along Scott Avenue was basically finished until drivers started rolling onto trouble.

Gutters installed at intersections were too deep.

City engineers would not talk on camera about the problem but say they're aware of it and the contractor for the project will correct it.

While that's good news for drivers, workers at Pat's Drive-In diner say it means more construction.

But they know despite the dips in the road their loyal customers will keep coming.

"We're loved and we're so thankful. We love our customers and thank God they love us, too," add Czajkowski.

We tried calling the contractor in charge of replacing the intersection gutters but was told the person we needed to speak with was out until Monday.

However, city engineers say the should start in two weeks.

As for complaints about not being told about the project and what it involved, a city spokesperson told us city officials did notify folks at Pat's Drive-In before the project started and offered assistance.

In fact, that spokesperson also said Transportation Director John Burrus personally visited the business to explain the project and offer assistance and made every effort to help with signs directing customers to the diner's parking lot as well as with signs showing drivers where they can park at the MPEC and quickly get to the Pat's Drive-In.

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