Business feel effects of traffic construction |

Business feel effects of traffic construction

Michael Schneider

There’s no argument that construction and erosion controls on Kingsbury Grade will eventually benefit the Lake Tahoe environment, but what about the short-term effect on businesses.

The lower Kingsbury area is the professional hub of business on the Nevada side of the South Shore.

Construction delays and torn up roads have been the status quo for businesses in the area this summer.

Wayne Wetteland, at the Exxon gas station on Kingsbury Grade, said motorists in the area experienced delays of up to three hours Thursday night as his business suffered.

“It’s a joke,” said Wetteland. “Somebody ought to make a report about it.”

When asked whether his business suffered this summer, Joe Francoeur, owner of Dart Discount Liquor, said “kinda in between.”

He said he didn’t see any significant benefits for his business, located at the bottom of the grade on U.S. Highway 50, when the construction is finished, but appreciated what the improvements will mean for the lake.

“It helps Lake Tahoe, which is good,” he said.

Francoeur said he couldn’t say for sure how much business he’s lost to the construction, but said some of his customers have shopped elsewhere for their liquor needs while others still frequent Dart.

“The locals need to realize it (the construction) has to be done and support it,” said Mark White, general manager of Mott Canyon Tavern and Grill on the lower grade.

White said Mott Canyon’s business has been good all summer due to the support of locals.

“We’ve been affected a little bit, but not much,” he said, pointing out traffic on the grade will flow more smoothly when the project is finished.

“It’s a tremendous improvement,” White said. “We’ll see the long-term benefits of the project down the road.”

The road overlay and erosion control portions of Nevada Department of Transportation projects in the Tahoe Basin are to be completed by Oct. 15.

NDOT will then turn its attention to the installation of a concrete barrier along the east slope of U.S. Highway 50 to Carson City.

Francoeur said NDOT has been responsive to businesses requests in the Kingsbury area, but he thinks the department could have done more for businesses to minimize the hardship many have suffered.

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