By Jacob Mathias
Construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 54 and Maple Drive in Plover is irking nearby businesses- but expect the costumers to come back once the project is finished.
The $2 million roundabout broke ground in May. Village leaders worked with the Dept. of Transportation on the new feature after public outcry following a series of serious accidents at the intersection.
“It’s slow because people used to be able to get off the Interstate and come down here and head towards Rapids, but now they have to go down to County Road B and around,” said Belinda Cobb, manager of the Express Mart on Plover Rd. “So we’re missing all the traffic from that way.”
There are three other gas stations that potential customers pass on the new route before they arrive at Cobb’s store, making things even tougher.
Cobb said business is slower than ever since she started two years ago. But other business owners on the Plover Road corridor say the temporary decline in traffic is just that- temporary.
“The construction did affect a little bit, but when it’s done it’s going to be okay,” said Matthew Alimi, owner of Paradise Restaurant on Post Rd.
Paradise is accessible via detour by traveling west on Plover Rd., taking a left on Wilson Ave. and then a left on Maple Dr. Signage for the detour is highly visible but adds about one mile of travel.
Alimi said his regular customers haven’t complained about the detour, adding his excitement over seeing the roundabout’s final look.
Traffic is detoured well before Alimi’s restaurant. Road closures are preventing traffic from accessing Hwy. 54 starting 400 feet south of Plover Rd. and continuing about 1/4 mile.
“We’ve seen a decrease in traffic our way,” said Damian Burrows, manager of the McDonald’s on Post Rd. “I think some of the other businesses around us have seen the same effect.”
Burrows said the change hasn’t been too drastic and he anticipates a return to normal business as soon as the construction is completed.
Randy Bechler, manager of the Plover MotoMart said that the convenience store’s business has not changed since the beginning of the construction, though he on the opposite side of the street from the other affected businesses.
The roundabout’s expected completion is in early September.