Businesses struggle with bridge construction

Posted at 10:43 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 00:49:19-05
The detour around the Broadway Bridge only takes a few minutes, but businesses say people just don't want to take the extra time, and it's hurting their business.
Jim Steward, owner of Extreme Pizza in downtown Boise, said business has been good for him in the city -- at least, until recently. 
Steward said all of the recent construction on the Broadway Bridge has driven customers away. 
"A lot of people want to avoid the mess and just stay away from it," explained Steward.
Steward has been in his location just off of Park Blvd and Broadway in the Ram Plaza for almost 5 years.
He says the construction has resulted in at 25-30 percent decrease in his dine-in business.
"To put it in perspective, this is our worst in-store month ever," said Steward.
His business isn't the only one suffering.
Just over the bridge, across the street from Boise State, Baja Fresh says the business has been dramatically different since the construction started.
"We've definately lost a lot of the customers from across the bridge, like the court house, St. Lukes, and like all of downtown pretty much," said Alex Hernandez, manager of Baja Fresh. "Lunch is totally our busiest time of the day, and we've pretty much lost half of it."
Their employees are also feeling the loss.
 "We let go of two people because they were the newer ones," said Hernandez. "Now we are down to like four cooks and four cashiers."
Even with the hard times, neither business said they have even considered shutting their doors.
They want to remind people they are still open.
"They can always come. We are still here, the same people are still here. We're trying really hard to stay open," said Hernandez.
"Starting up a business is always hard so we've made it through that. We will make it through this," said Steward.
Not all of the businesses say they are suffering a loss.
Many of the businesses On Your Side spoke with have said they don't think the construction is hurting them at all.
If construction continues on schedule, it's expected to be done sometime in September.