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Business owners already feeling impact of Fredericton’s construction season

Construction is underway in Fredericton at the intersection of Queen Street and Regent Street,.
Construction is underway in Fredericton at the intersection of Queen Street and Regent Street,. Adrienne South/Global News

Construction season is underway in Fredericton, and with major work happening in the downtown core, business owners are already feeling the impact.

There are six major construction projects that will back up traffic, including closures at Saint Anne’s Point Drive, Smythe Street, Forest Hill Road, Lincoln Road, Riverside Drive and Sunset Drive.

Bob Delong, the owner of Fox’s Barbershop, told Global News he’s seen business drop somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent since construction started two weeks ago.

“It’s standard in any construction zone,” Delong said.  “It’s going to impact business for sure.”

READ MORE: Fredericton summer construction projects to impact downtown traffic

Despite the setback, Delong said he’s fairly happy with how the city is informing the public about businesses that remain open along Queen Street.

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“They’re doing the best they can in a situation like that. That’s the way things are,” Delong said.

Most of Delong’s customers know he’s staying open, but the lack of accessible parking is becoming an issue.

Downtown Fredericton Inc. General Manager Bruce McCormack said it’s become “troublesome” for other businesses, who are also feeling the impact of the construction and road closures.

“It’s the traffic patterns. When they change, [that] throws everybody off,” McCormack said. “We’re seeing our major access to the north side is now shutdown, so that’s really playing havoc on traffic in the downtown, putting more stress on other streets.”

McCormack is working with other businesses to ensure signage informs the public of shops that are open. He also wants to make it clear that the businesses are accessible to all.

“In some cases where the streets are closed, pedestrians can still walk on the sidewalks and get in and out of the businesses,” McCormack said. “They all understand that the work has to be done, so they’re being patient.”

Changes to loading and unloading areas because of the closures is becoming more difficult, and McCormack said it’s crucial goods and services are able to get deliveries downtown.

McCormack said there’s a small window of time construction can be done in New Brunswick because of the weather.

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“We all have a little bit of pain, but hopefully it will be a good thing once it’s done,” McCormack said.