Paul Teboul has been selling men's clothing on Peel St. for 35 years. But work to replace aging sewer pipes on the street is putting his store out of fashion with customers.

“They avoid the street because nobody wants to walk in a street where there are irritants,” he said.

Those irritants – a ripped up road and narrow sidewalks – make Peel between Ste. Catherine St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd. less than inviting.

“It's a bit awkward walking around trying to negotiate a pathway which has construction as opposed to choosing something that is easy to navigate,” said one tourist.

Jorge Ferreira, manager of Vasco da Gama cafe on Peel, says summer business is down by 30 per cent.

“There are tourists here in Montreal, but they're somewhere else on other streets,” he said.

The sewer pipes in question are 100 years old and the city says work is two weeks behind schedule. The contractor is supposed to have workers on site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, but merchants say crews rarely start early and often finish late.

Projet Montreal interim Leader Luc Ferrandez has also spoken out about the work site, saying the management of infrastructure projects like the one on Peel St. needs to be improved..

The city says that if delays continue on the peel street construction, the company responsible could face fines of up to $9,000 a day.

“They're not doing as much as they should be, as we want them to do. We’ve spoken to the entrepreneur. a lot of it could be in terms of how he's organized his work. It’s something that we can't tolerate, that we won't tolerate,” said Lionel Perez, who is responsible for infrastructure on Montreal’s executive committee.

The contractor was not available for comment, but the city says the work is scheduled for completion in the fall.

The merchants fear that won't be the end of their troubles though, because work still has to be done on Peel between de Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke, which could mean orange cones and road blocks until the spring.