LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Update: It appears the business owners and state highway officials have already come to a satisfactory resolution of the lane closure and road construction hurting sales in the 3200 Block of Ryan Street.
There's nothing that rings in the holidays for local businesses like the jingle jangle of sales during the Christmas rush. And business owners said the lane closure that started Monday was already causing problems.
It's the busiest and most profitable time of the year for small, local businesses like Expressions, a store that caters to its loyal customers. Owner Susie Book said shoppers were downright aggravated at the lane closure that makes coming and going so difficult. "The road construction has been chaos because they have shut down the right hand lane and are forcing everyone into the middle lane to go straight. So, even if you're turning on Prien Lake Road you have to merge to the left hand lane. It is irritating. Once people sit in line, they don't want to let people out. They're not in a very Christmasy mood."
Book pointed out the lane closure was on the north side of Prien Lake Road when the beginning construction is on the south side. "We would really just like them to open up the right hand lane and make it a must turn right on Prien Lake Road since the construction does not begin until the other side of the interstate."
And she feared it would hurt neighboring businesses. "It's causing a back up. Our customers are complaining. It is our busiest time of the season and they were supposed to start April first and did not and decided to start during my busiest time of the year."
Dazzle Up owner Joyce Leveque, next door, says it already has hurt her business. "With the one lane closed it's really difficult for people to get over here. And yesterday was the first day that they've had it closed and I had one customer all day. So, it's not good for business, of course."
State highway department spokesman Steve Jiles encourages business people to let the state know of any problems they are having. Jiles said he would get more information and was optimistic they would be able to address problems. Business people can call the local highway office at 437-9100.
Some business people said they would attend tonight's Lake Charles City Council meeting, to see what help they could get there. But it appears their conversations late this afternoon satisfied them that help was in the works. Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach is out of town, but says the city is working with business owners to provide temporary access for customers through a side street.
Roach says the highway department has already authorized a limited right turn light for southbound traffic.