ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A city construction project has proven to be bad for business and already has cost the job of one worker.
Restaurant owners say as soon as the road work began Monday at Jefferson Street NE and Osuna Road, their customers stopped showing up.
And now they're worried they won't be able to survive.
Just before lunchtime Thursday there were plenty of empty spaces in a strip mall inside the project limits.
"The parking lot at this time would be full," Bill Garrison of Quiznos Subs said. "I'm down about 50 to 60 percent just in customer numbers daily."
Inside Quiznos only one person eating.
Business owners blame what's happening on a $700,000 storm-drain project that started Monday just down the street.
"We understand if the project has to be done it has to be done, but we have all main access to this shopping center cut off," Natalie Palmer of Einstein Bros. Bagels said.
And they say it's tough to get to the one entrance.
"If you're on Paseo and you hit Jefferson and you're going south on Jefferson you can't turn left to get in," Alysia Mitchell of Gymboree said. "You have to go all the way down Jefferson, make a (U-turn)."
Construction is expected to take three months. Owners say they won't be able to make it until then if something doesn't change.
Quiznos has already cut an employee.
"I've already let one of them go as of yesterday," Garrison said. "I had no choice."
The city today says it will try to make things better for the businesses by moving some barrels and adding another turn into the area.
"Sent our inspectors out there to see if there's a way we can improve the traffic flow," Mark Motsko of the city's Municipal Development Department said.
The city will also add more signs.
Motsko said the first two weeks are the most intensive part of the project. Drivers can expect traffic to improve after that.
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