CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – The stretch of U.S. 31 shut down between Old Meridian and 136th Street is on schedule to open in little more than a month, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
The end of construction is good news for commuters and even better news for businesses that have been struggling since the shutdown earlier this year.
J. Razzo’s restaurant sits in the shadow of the ongoing construction near 125th Street and Meridian Street. “This has really hurt the small business people.”
Perazzo says empty tables have been all too frequent during the road construction.
“Lunch has been affected the most. Lunch has been constantly down 50 percent. People just don’t have the time to drive all around Carmel to get here.”
Just south of J Razzo’s, Brunchies’ servers say business has been steady.
“We’re doing okay. We have a very loyal group of followers that make sure they find their way here and we appreciate that a lot,” says server, Brooke Hoover.
Hoover says, right now, the restaurant is running on regulars, like Ben James.
“We’ve been fortunate that we could find a little road down the back. So we’ve been using the back roads to get here,” says James.
Brunchies serves breakfast and lunch.
Hoover says lunch has been hit hardest, “People are given a certain amount of time to go get lunch, so they don’t have time to fight roundabouts made of cones.”
Word that U.S. 31 is still on track to open in time for the holiday season is reason for optimism.
Even with the construction wrapping up, businesses in the Meridian street corridor don’t know if business will return
“It affects me, but mostly it affects my employees. I’ve had to cut hours. I’ve had to let some employees go,” says Perazzo.