YAKIMA, Wash.-- After almost two years of delays and construction mistakes cars and trucks are finally driving through the new Lincoln Avenue underpass.
Businesses we spoke to say they've seen pretty substantial drops in their customer base since the construction began and it's continued to drop while the project has been pushed back. But now that it's open, they're hopeful customers will return.
"The restaurant itself had an increase every year for 30 years, and last year we had a decrease for the first time," said John Puccinelli.
John Puccinelli owns the Mel's Diner building on the corner of 1st St. and Lincoln. He says the business has really seen a drop in customers in the past two years, and his place isn't alone.
"Once the project started lingering into the year, little over a year and a half, it really started taking its toll," said Fred Mendoza, manager at Elliott Tire and Service-Goodyear.
Mendoza says they've had a 20% drop at Elliott Tire and Service, a shop that's off Lincoln Avenue and was pretty tough to get to during construction.
In fact, they even had to lay off one of their technicians.
But now that the underpass is finished, no one is looking back, only forward.
"It's been tough, but the saying, crying over spilled milk, it's not going to help me today. The best thing to do is plug forward," said Mendoza.
And Puccinelli agrees, even though he says the city damaged the structure holding up his sign and encroached on his property, he just wants to move on.
"We think they were a little bit disorganized. We're sorry that happened, I'm sure they're sorry that happened, but I'm not the kind of person that goes out suing," said Puccinelli.
Next the city will be looking at a similar underpass project for Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard.
Funding though is still up in the air and for now, MLK Jr. Blvd. will be re-striped and go back to being a one way street over the next few days.