By Shelden Rogers and Alisa Howlett
Heather Brasser has seen her business slowly die ever since construction started on Highway 62
A $20 million construction project on Highway 62 just north of the 401 has been underway since the winter of 2011. The road is expanding from two lanes to four lanes up to Ashley Street in Foxboro. The construction is expected to be finished in the fall of 2014. The heart of the construction is parked right in front of a multiple businesses.
Brasser owns her own restaurant called Heather’s Place, located in the Sommerville Center Plaza. She said it has been a rough couple of years for her business.
“More than half of my business has been lost. I’m not afraid to say that no, we aren’t busy,” said Brasser.
Brasser said that because of the construction, people are completely avoiding the highway in front of her business. She said most of her customers are seniors, and they especially don’t want to deal with construction.
“Most of my clientele are over 65, and they don’t want to come near the construction,” said Brasser.
The construction can cause a lot of delays. Brasser said she was stopped at traffic lights for over 20 minutes. She said that’s also a big problem for her business.
“I was stopped for 20 minutes at the lights, that’s ridiculous. If you’ve got a half an hour lunch, you’re not going to come here,” said Brasser.
There are a variety of businesses along the route of construction. Car dealerships, plazas and small businesses have all been affected.
Jennifer Marcov works at Count Dracula’s Paint and Paper Warehouse in the Sommerville Center Plaza. She said she has lost a lot of customers due to traffic lineups.
“We are on a highway that is a popular route for cottage travelers and we have really missed out on those people,” said Marcov
Marcov fears that the loss of customers is going to have a long-term effect on her business.
“When people buy a product somewhere else, they will usually go back there to get it, so we are missing out on those long term customers,” said Marcov.
She just hopes that the construction is done on schedule.
“We are ok right now, but if this construction were to drag on then I don’t know what we’d do. Hopefully it is finished by next year,” she said.
Brasser has been trying to find ways to recover from slow business. She has been advertising her business at Zwick’s park rock concerts. When she approaches people they say they didn’t know her restaurant was still open.
“A lot of people just assume that because the construction is blocking the driveway that the plaza is closed,” said Brasser.
With the slow business, Brasser has seen stores come and go in less than a year. She just tries to stay positive through it all.
“I’m stubborn, I just take it one day at a time. But it’s hard when you still have to pay everything,” she said.
Brasser said there is no doubt that the slow business is due to the construction.
“I will blame the lack of business on the construction, I’m sure. Because in the winter time when the construction is gone we get busy again,” she said “I have been here ten years and I never ever would have thought things would get like this.”