Minnesota Avenue construction causing access issues for businesses

Published: May. 14, 2018 at 6:18 PM CDT
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It’s been one week since a major construction project began on one of the busiest roadways in Sioux Falls.

Crews will be working on Minnesota Avenue from 22nd to 33rd street over the next several months.

More than 27,000 cars travel the roadway every day. Right now three of the five lanes are closed, bringing traffic to stand still during peak travel times.

But that lull in traffic is not only annoying for drivers, it’s a big nuisance for businesses along the project. The long lines of cars can often end up blocking side streets or driveways into businesses. This project will block all but one entrance into Verne Eide Mitsubishi.

It’s why the car dealership decided to temporarily move its operation to the Verne Eide Honda dealership on Louise Avenue until the construction is over. But it is still offering its service department at the original location.

“So if you need any service they are still open over there. On the sales side, that was going to be blocked off so we had to make a decision to move our inventory here,” Verne Eide Mitsubishi General Manager Travis Hoyt said.

Hoyt says the timing is terrible as this is usually the busiest season for his car dealership.

“March through August is our busy time. Timing is not the best we are going to our best to work through it.” Hoyt said.

But the temporary move also came with a big price tag.

“Oh for sure, with radio, T.V and different things we have to increase that spending just to get people to understand where we are at and what's going on,” Hoyt said. “Anytime something like this happens it does hurt smaller businesses unfortunately.”

Across the street from Verne Eide Mitsubishi is Slim Chickens; after less than a year in business, the restaurant is now right in the heart of this construction chaos.

“The first two days, it did slow things down a little but, lunch was a little more sporadic, really hit or miss,” Tiffany Weldon with Slim Chickens said.

Weldon says its concerning to know the major construction project will last through the summer.

“We would like to say something else, yes, that's for sure,” she said.

The backed up traffic can sometimes block the side street into Slim Chickens, so Weldon suggests drivers use back roads for easier access and also encourages drivers on Minnesota to be conscious of other drivers who may need to turn.

“Slim Chickens is a good place and I think people make an effort to come and get in here,” Weldon said

The project is expected to be completed by early November.