A city project that has turned 10 blocks of the once-bustling two-way Fulton Street into a one-way obstacle course and a pox on local business will last months longer than expected.
The $8.5-million reconstruction of the street, which the city began in July, 2006, and expected to complete by next spring, will now stretch into next summer, said Matthew Monaghan, a spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction, which is overseeing the project.
“We had some issues with Con Ed — some utilities were not where we anticipated finding them,” said Monaghan, delicately. The result, he said, is that the project is two months behind schedule.
The news has Fulton Street merchants grumbling.
“Well, of course I’m disappointed,” said a stylist named Mr. Don, who works at Hair Players 2000, between Waverly and Washington avenues. “They said it would be done by next winter.
“This project has taken away at least 30 percent of our business,” added Don. “The street goes one-way now, so you only get that one eye of traffic, and … there’s nowhere to park.”
The project, which stretches between Clinton and Bedford avenues, is intended to repair water mains, upgrade the sewer system, and install new street lighting and traffic signals. The short-term repercussions, however, have been severe. For the duration of the project, the city has closed off half of the street, and rerouted buses off Fulton Street.
Rocky Widdi, the manager of Met Food supermarket, between St. James and Cambridge places, said the construction has definitely taken its toll.
“If you’re going toward Bed-Stuy, you’re not passing by my store any more,” said Widdi. “It’s affected my business by at least 15 or 20 percent. Everyone’s feeling it.”
But Dale Charles, a spokeswoman for Pratt Area Community Council, said it could have been much worse.
“I had the city come out to give the merchants a heads-up about what they need to do on the marketing end, and it seems to have worked,” said Charles. “I haven’t had too many complaints. Usually, I get bogged down with complaints.”
The local anger is reminiscent of what happened during a similar reconstruction project on Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge. That “one-year” project took 18 months.