Mass road works drive away Christchurch businesses' customers
Central Christchurch business owners have taken a swipe at constant large-scale road works, blaming the projects for driving away customers and stunting their growth.
Crown company Otakaro Limited on Wednesday acknowledged its work made it hard for people to see businesses and said temporary parking and lane reductions were an "unfortunate consequence" of significant upgrades.
Manchester St works started in May and should be complete by the end of 2017, while Durham St would be finished about April.
Laneway Espresso owner Stuart Winter said he had lost business from morning commuters put off by road works on Durham St since May.
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"All of our car parking's been completely removed out the front [so] there's just not an option to stop."
An Otakaro spokesman said there was insufficient space to provide a safe working area, car parks and a lane for vehicles until all Durham St lanes had reopened.
Winter said he and other local business owners believed the tender process for the work should have included requirements for weekend and night work.
Otakaro's spokesman said night work presented health and safety risks, could generate unacceptable noise, and was constrained by the availability of other workers and suppliers.
Chris Gourley, owner of Manchester St's Great Coffee Fast, said operating beside the torn-up street had been difficult.
"People don't like walking through it . . . so it kind of impacts us pretty significantly."
He had been most frustrated by Otakaro's level of communication, which was "non-existent" until he "kicked up a fuss".
"When they first came and saw us it was all gung-ho . . . 'the programme's going to be eight weeks and then we'll be out of your way'. We're now sort of 26 weeks in."
Otakaro's spokesman said businesses were updated every two to three weeks.
Manchester St work was delayed for about two weeks due to the removal of contaminated materials from the basement of a demolished building taking longer than expected.
Heavy rain prevented seal being poured and the discovery of underground services caused minor delays, but the section of Durham St from Kilmore to Armagh St would reopen early next year.