A business owner in downtown Ann Arbor says construction delays on State Street are hurting sales.

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Ann Arbor – This is the Big Weekend at the University of Michigan: a combination of Homecoming and Parent & Family Weekends.

In a typical year, businesses prepare for large crowds and big sales. But the owner of the shops and restaurants just off his UM on State Street said the prolonged road closures had an impact on traffic and revenue.

Bivouac owner Ed Davidson said: “So they say, ‘It’s not worth walking there’?”

Davidson said he was most worried about the thousands of visitors coming to town this weekend after a fairly successful bookrush that brought students to campus for the first time by parents.

“For me, it’s like Christmas weekend,” he said.

South facing State Street in downtown Ann Arbor on August 27, 2022. (Meredith Bruckner)

The construction is a two-part project by the City and the Downtown Development Authority, which includes Phase 1 of the water main replacement and State Street redesign. The state between William and Washington will be the first curb-free street in Ann Arbor. Other changes to the cityscape include corner planters, new corner plazas for State and North U, and countdown timers for pedestrians.

read: See the redesign of State Street in Ann Arbor

The work was due to be completed by Labor Day, but is now four weeks behind schedule.

With eight football games at home this season, business owners are frustrated that the project has extended several weekends into the football season. They said the city and he shared concerns with the DDA before work began.

“From my point of view, I’ve made it clear that if I have to do it, I’ll do it, but I can’t let that affect the football season,” said M Den owner Scott Haas. I’m sure it won’t affect the football season.”

Hirth said he felt he missed an opportunity to reach visitors at a crucial time of the year.

“It wasn’t in the best interest of the city,” Haas said. “That street was a disaster, so I didn’t get a chance to make a first impression on new students and their parents. It was supposed to be done. I still don’t know how it turned out this way.”

Hirth says revenue wasn’t hit as hard during construction, but other companies can’t say the same. , and the impact was felt beyond the boulevard, said Frans Todro Hargreaves, executive director of the State Street District.

Construction site on September 19, 2022. (Maura Thomson | Ann Arbor DDA)

“If this continues until the end of the month, it will be a long September,” said Todoro-Hargreaves. “We were definitely seeing the effect beyond the streets.

“So when I was told when it would be extended, the first thing I asked was when would the William and State and Liberty and State intersections be able to open. It was quite difficult to open up our neighborhood.”

DDA communications manager Maura Thomson said input from districts and business owners was considered before the project began.

“This is a two-year project,” says Thomson. “In Phase 1, we talked to the State Street neighborhood and businesses and really listened to what they had to say. We heard them all and did what we could to make it happen, not to mention we missed that schedule.”

The crew encountered unforeseen problems, including delays in removing DTE gas lines, delays in obtaining materials, and adverse weather conditions, said Thomson. The city imposes damages on contracts to encourage contractors to meet all deadlines or face additional fines.

Some business owners have inquired about receiving funds from contractor fines to cover lost revenue during construction. He said no additional money would be paid to the city because of the high probability of the accident.

“We worked with our contractors to prioritize what was most important to the neighborhood,” says Thomson. “Installing concrete on the west side of the street is a priority so businesses with patios on the street can put them back in as soon as possible.”

Concrete is poured on State Street in downtown Ann Arbor on September 19, 2022. (Maura Thomson | Ann Arbor DDA)

Concrete is being poured at the William Street intersection, which should be open by the end of this week, Thomson said.

State Street’s estimated full throttle is now set for October 7th.

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