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Midtown road construction causing headaches for businesses, motorists

HOUSTON – Business owners near a road construction project in Midtown said repairs are hurting their bottom line.

"I'm all for progress," said Irwin Palchick, owner of F Bar. "I'm going to be excited when everything is done, but in the meantime, it's taken a toll on our finances. It's taken a toll on our neighborhood."

The repairs are part of a $13 million drainage and paving project along Fairview Street, continuing to Tuam Street. A spokesperson for the city's Department of Public Works and Engineering told KPRC2 paving should be complete by the end of next month.

"A critical portion of the storm sewer reconstruction has been completed and the Department of Public Works is in the process of replacing the temporary pavement. Contractors have done their best to keep the temporary pavement and traffic flow as safe as possible during construction," said Alanna Reed, public information officer, Department of Public Works and Engineering, in a statement to KPRC2.

Most told KPRC2 the project was a long time coming. Bumpy roads and poor drainage have been a concern for years. However, improvements, though needed, have come at a hefty price, businesses owners said.

"We work really hard to build a business and then all of a sudden, we've got really bad business," said Palchick.

Palchick estimated a lack of street parking and dust from construction has cost him $20,000 to $25,000 per month in lost business.

Bottom line aside, others complained of dust affecting their health.

"We have to put up tarps because we can't breathe," said Ronnie Jackson, owner of Ronnie Jackson Mercedes at the 220 block of Tuam.

Jackson told KPRC2 dust from construction has blanketed his inventory of luxury vehicles.

"We're talking about three sinus infections from about three different employees," Jackson continued.

Both Palchick and Jackson said lane changes and a partial road closure has confused drivers, as well. While KPRC2 was present, several drivers used Palchick's parking lot as a turnaround because the road was closed.

There was a road closed sign; however, several drivers complained of being confused, hoping to get around the mess, they said.

"A normal car, you can't drive down that. There's no way," said John Landem, motorist, describing a rocky patch of unpaved road.

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