St-Jacques reopening doesn't solve all merchants' woes
MONTREAL - A gateway to the west end was reopened Friday morning but the construction work that closed the St-Jacques exit from Highway 20 West is still jackhammering bottom lines.
Several businesses near Decarie and Upper Lachine remain difficult to access due to the ongoing construction at the MUHC superhospital.
They include the Kosa Arts Centre, which was built on the site of a former daycare on Crowley in 2009.
Nick Patulli's centre has offered top-flight conference and stage facilities since it opened in 2009 but its location in the midst of the dust, closed roads and trucks hasn't led people to stream to its doors.
The closure of the St-Jacques exit was supposed to last from February 1 to June 24 but the traffic cones were only removed on September 2 and Patulli felt the pain.
In fact, he's still feeling it, as the major access on Decarie remains closed to traffic.
"Not only did the St-Jacques exit closure bother me but the problem of the trucks coming in and out has caused my business to be down from 60 to 70 percent."
Decarie between St-Jacques and Upper Lachine will remain closed to all but construction trucks for many more months as a new train overpass at the north end gets rebuilt to widen the route.
A small road has been built through a former green space which allows visitors to get to Patulli's centre on tiny Crowley street via Upper Lachine.
But it's not always an easy route to explain and Deanne Smith hopes that the confusion won't lead people to be late to her wedding at the centre.
"I'm happy it's reopening," said Smith. "If they know the city they'll have options but the signage is not great there."
Another nearby merchant suggests that the rebuilding of the train overpass should have been undertaken at the same time as the sewer-rebuilding work that led to the off ramp closure.
Naser Omar, owner of Albor's car care, says business at his car wash had already been down 40 percent with the street closure and that doubled to 80 percent as the off-ramp was shut.
"I don't know why they're going to take another year," he said. "They should have done the work at the same time."
He says that he was not compensated from the city for his losses.