Road closure hurts business

The partial road closure of Elgin Avenue on Saturday has a local businesswoman upset after customers could not get to her shop at the Arboretum shopping plaza.

Karen Marshall, owner of Off the Peg, said she estimated her business lost $2,000 in revenue because of the confusion caused when customers reached blockades at several roads leading to her shop.

‘These are the days that are really important,’ Ms Marshall said, referring to the Christmas holiday sales season. ‘Payday was at the end of the month and this was Saturday, December 3rd.’

Elgin Avenue was closed heading toward Smith Road as the National Road Authority continued works on creating a double carriage roundabout connecting Elgin Avenue with Huldah Avenue and Thomas Russell Way.

One lane of traffic was open on Elgin Avenue heading in to town, but there were long delays for motorists who took that route.

Ms Marshall said she had no idea the road closure was going to occur, and that she had complained to the NRA about the lack of notice.

‘[The NRA] said there was a notice in the newspaper, but I don’t always read the paper, and I didn’t see it. And from the number of customers who called me saying they couldn’t reach me, it was apparent they didn’t see it either.’

Notices sent by Government Information Services about the road closure were received by the Caymanian Compass too late on Thursday to be included in the Friday newspaper.

As a courtesy, Ms Marshall thinks the NRA could have contacted the four businesses at the Arboretum directly.

‘They could have at least put notices on the door,’ she said. ‘I know I’m a small business, but I still have to make a living,’

Coming from town heading toward Smith Road, Elgin Avenue was closed at Hospital Road, even though the actual road works started beyond where the Arboretum is located.

Ms Marshall understands that the NRA did not want people travelling down to the road any farther because they would have then had to find a place to turn around. She thinks, however, that a sign saying words to the effect of ‘Road Closed Ahead – Local Assess Only’ would have allowed customers to reach her shop.

The fact that the road closure took place on a busy Saturday in Christmas season, and not on Sunday when her business is closed, also upset Ms Marshall. She noted that this was the second Saturday in the past three weeks that there has been a road closure on Elgin Avenue.

NRA Managing Director Colford Scott said he was not aware that the notice about the road closure had not made the newspaper.

‘We do apologise that there was confusion,’ he said. ‘Had I known the release was late getting to the newspapers, we could have done something differently. We didn’t quite live up to the standard we normally do.’

As for why the road works were done on Saturday and not Sunday, Mr. Scott said it was originally thought the work, which involved taking a water main and a culvert across the road, could take two days.

‘We weren’t sure we could have done it in one day, and if we had started Sunday, that would have meant disrupting businesses on Monday,’ he said, noting that in the end, the work was completed Saturday evening.

Mr. Scott said he hoped the NRA would not have to disrupt the Elgin Avenue traffic again until it came time to pave the road.

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