Road project runs Cascio’s business down

Local

Road construction can be frustrating for drivers, but it can make-or-break businesses. Which is the case along Shed Road in Bossier where a project will not be complete for another year.

Shed Road has been under construction for almost a year now and city officials said the hardest part not even started yet. In the meantime, businesses like Cascio’s Market said they’re struggling to stay open.

“It’s just been really hard the last six, seven months for sure, really hard. We’re not a big corporation. My rent is the same on the building. We’re trying to not get rid of any employees because all of our people have been here for so long. We hire all full-time and not part-time,” said T.J. Forrest, owner of Cascio’s Market Bistro.

Forrest said business is down by 50-percent since construction started on Shed Road eleven months ago. It’s lead him to scale back his hours so he now closes earlier. The project puts his restaurant in an awkward spot for drivers, with no lights, loose gravel and a dreaded detour.

“Some people just don’t want to deal with it. People don’t really get an hour lunch break anymore. They get  30 to 45 minutes and they don’t know if they can get in and out of here within 30 to 45 minutes,” Forrest said.

“It’s so slow I wish they could speed it up. I know it’ll be good for the community but it’s tragic for businesses that are suffering,” said one woman who drove through it to get to Cascio’s.

The goal is to expand the road to a four-lane with better drainage. But the city engineer said that’s the biggest undertaking.

“It’s an ambitious project but once we’re finished it’ll be a nice street with adequate drainage which for that neighborhood north and south of Shed Road hasn’t drained so well in the past but it will in the future,” said Mark Hudson, Bossier City Engineer.

Once that phase starts, he said it should be finished within six weeks. It worries Forrest, who said he can’t take another dip in business.

“I just think it’s going to get worse and worse. That’s why I tell people support your local business,” Forrest said. 

The city engineer said this project costs 10-million-dollars and will be complete in ten months. It’s already paid for using mostly federal funding. 

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