AUBURN | At a meeting Monday organized by state Assemblyman Gary Finch, a few small business owners shared frustrations with state officials over the ongoing road construction project on Grant Avenue.
Crews are resurfacing Grant Avenue from the intersection at Seymour Street to slightly north of Mutton Hill Road in the town of Sennett. While business owners and local leaders say the project is necessary, they questioned why there wasn't more communication about the project ahead of time and its impact on traffic patterns.
Tony Briseno Jr., whose family owns Cameron's Bakery on Grant Avenue, said his business is losing money because of the construction. He said with blocked driveways and shifting traffic patterns, customers have had to take detours to get to the bakery.
Briseno also questioned why contractors are working on the project during the day instead of at night, when there is less traffic.
Carl Ford, regional director of the state Department of Transportation, said cost and worker safety are reasons why the agency prefers daytime projects.
"In the past, we often did nighttime construction," he said. "But nighttime construction is not as safe, both for the workers and the traveling public."
But the main concern was the lack of communication before the project started. The state DOT's public information officer, Gene Cilento, said he found out about the project one day after it commenced. Cilento distributed a news release at Monday's meeting that was originally sent out on May 1.
Auburn City Councilor John Camardo urged the state DOT to improve communication with local governments and businesses for future road projects.
"Good communication has to be out there," he said. "Communication goes a long way."
The $1.96 million Grant Avenue project is about 70 percent complete, according to the state DOT. The project is divided into four parts and crews are wrapping work on the third section this week. DOT officials say the project will be completed in the next three to four weeks, weather permitting.