South Surrey businesses say overpass repairs creating a blue Christmas

WATCH: Surrey overpass repairs affects businesses

While many in Metro Vancouver are crashing the stores for last-minute gifts, some retailers in South Surrey say it hasn’t been the merriest of retail seasons.

Some shop owners near the 152nd Street overpass say they’ve seen a marked decrease in business since a truck smashed into the bridge on Dec. 4.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, the overpass will need “extensive repairs,” and an update isn’t expected until early January.

The northbound lane to 152 Street remains closed and while access to shops in the nearby South Point Annex remains possible, businesses say the perceived inconvenience is keeping customers away.

WATCH: Truck hits 152nd Street overpass

Truck hits 152nd Street overpass
Truck hits 152nd Street overpass

James Chan, manager of Kin’s Farm Market, said shoppers are still avoiding the area due to traffic troubles.

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“Generally, Christmas is our busy season. We have larger displays and we try to encourage customers to come in since usually we get new customers coming in [around] Christmas time who haven’t been in the store before,” Chan said.

This year, sales have dipped anywhere from five to 10 per cent, he said.

Earlier this month, the 7 Seas Fish Market told Global News it had seen a 50 per cent drop in clientele.

By Christmas Eve, Chan said business had rebounded somewhat from the beginning of the month, but that the shop is still feeling the squeeze.

“It still isn’t as good as compared to last years. I guess people are used to getting around the closure, but some people are still avoiding the area.”

Repairs on the overpass could take several months to complete, with longer-term work to expand the interchange at the notorious bottleneck on the drawing board.

Businesses in the area are calling on the province and the city to improve signage to help them keep afloat while the work is underway.

-With files from Aaron McArthur