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17 Avenue reopens after months of construction woes for businesses

Click to play video: 'City apologizes for construction delays after 17 Avenue reopening' City apologizes for construction delays after 17 Avenue reopening
WATCH: After months of construction, 17 Avenue has finally reopened. City crews have wrapped up construction along a busy stretch in the downtown core and as Bindu Suri reports, city officials are apologizing to businesses – Nov 16, 2017

Downtown Calgary’s popular 17 Avenue has reopened after months of road construction made for parking, vehicle and pedestrian-traffic headaches for businesses and patrons alike.

The City of Calgary tweeted Thursday morning that the street is now open to traffic and parking.

READ MORE: Pop-up party planned for alley off 17 Avenue amid construction

“There will still be some periodic lane closures to finish final items,” the tweet said.

The city also thanked the businesses of 17 Avenue, Victoria Park and the Beltline for their patience. Construction in the area began in April.

The construction on the downtown street dotted with restaurants, bars and shops was a struggle for many businesses along the stretch, as parking was completely restricted in some areas. Driving lanes and pedestrian access were also reduced.

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Several businesses reported losses throughout the construction process, including Una Pizza and Wine, Pet Planet and Sol Optix.

Watch: The economy is not the only factor contributing to failing bottom lines on 17 Avenue in Calgary. As Tony Tighe reports, construction is also taking a bite out of profits.

Click to play video: 'Construction takes bite out of business on Calgary’s 17 Avenue' Construction takes bite out of business on Calgary’s 17 Avenue
Construction takes bite out of business on Calgary’s 17 Avenue – Oct 11, 2017

Moving to 17 Avenue was supposed to mean a boost in business for the owner of Naina’s Kitchen, Erin Mueller.

“With my mom retired and me being a single mom, this is our everything,” she said Thursday.

However, a few months after Mueller opened Naina’s Kitchen, the city also moved in with construction.

Mueller said she would have hit rock bottom if it wasn’t for the busy hockey season.

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“At any given point [we were] about a week from closing. Day by day, hoping enough people would come in to pay wages,” Mueller said describing the touch-and-go situation.

LISTEN: How businesses have been impacted by road construction on 17 Avenue in Calgary

READ MORE: Calgary businesses launch petition calling for open liquor on 17 Avenue

The restaurant owner says she understands the redevelopment is needed, but it took much longer than expected.

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“We’re going to be okay, the next few weeks with no hockey happening, it’s going to be tight.”

Construction work included the busy stretch from Macleod Trail to 5 Street S.W., and following months of construction, the work stretched another five to six weeks longer than expected.

The city says for that, it’s sorry.

“That was not something we had hoped for, most certainly not something the businesses had hoped for,” Sean Somers, spokesperson with the city’s transportation department said.

“The best we can do is apologize for that. This summer has been lessons learned for us.”

The city admits crews hit unexpected road blocks, literally.

“There was some delay, some unforeseen stuff underground, some additional utilities that we didn’t actually know about,” Somers said.

Businesses will be consulted before construction picks up again in spring of 2018. The work is expected to continue in small sections along 17 Avenue towards 14 Street.

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