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Pothole Repair Project Has Been A Rocky Ride For Hoboken Business Owners

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A plan to fix potholes and parking problems in Hoboken is backfiring.

Instead of attracting visitors, business owners said a multi-million dollar street project is driving them away.

As CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported, it's a road rehab project that never ends.

"There hasn't been enough communication with the business owners as to some rationale as to why this is taking so long, why has become a major inconvenience," Armando Luis, owner of La Isla said.

An inconvenience affecting the bottom line of businesses on Washington Street.

Marisol Hernandez manages Arthur's Restaurant. She said business is down more than 30 percent from last year.

"We're not seeing the sales that we used to have, ugh people can't find parking, it's just chaos everywhere," she said.

"People don't want to stop and go into a local business when there's dumping and pumping and all that dust outside," Acai-Ya Later, co-owner Matt Rubel added.

Curbs on multiple blocks are being dug out adding to potholes that already line the street.

"You're hitting a million different potholes and pavement coverings and stuff, it's horrible," Wendy Oswald Kinney said.

The already limited parking spots are filled with cones or construction vehicles. CBS2 spoke to one woman who was dropped off in the middle of the road by an NJ TRANSIT bus.

"It's terrible, it's long time they working in the street and somebody tell me they finish in July, I don't believe it," Dore Pere said.

A lot of these businesses said they thrive on foot traffic, but people are confused about how to get to these stores so they're avoiding Washington Street altogether.

"It's absolutely terrifying crossing the street with the stroller. You're terrified, you don't know where traffic is coming from," Shakira Osborne said.

The city's $17-million plan to redesign the street includes infrastructure upgrades, timed traffic signals, and patching up those notorious potholes.

The project was slated to end in December, but now won't be done until July of next year.

"We were promised they were going to expedite it as quickly as possible, but we don't see that happening," Eugene Flynn, owner Elysian Cafe said.

With the holidays around the corner, the president of the chamber of commerce has a plea.

"Just as f you had a friend rehabilitating from an injury you go visit, people should come and visit because these businesses need your patronage," Richard Mackiewicz Jr said.

CBS2 went to speak with Mayor Dawn Zimmer who said she was in meetings all day, but in a statement said it's a big urban project they are trying to complete safely and with minimal disruptions to residents and businesses.

People in Hoboken said they just want to see the project over with.

The city added that if the contractor does not complete the project by July of 2018, they will owe the city thousands of dollars for failing to meet that deadline.


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