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State and Collister construction causing headaches for drivers, businesses

As the major State Street and Collister Drive intersection rebuild is underway, some businesses say construction at their front doors is impacting their bottom line or day-to-day operations.

Another day, another construction headache in the Treasure Valley.

The rebuilding of the State Street and Collister Drive intersection is well underway - proving to be a major undertaking. The bulk of construction started in early November as crews work on the roads, as well as a nearby canal and bridge. This large-scale rebuild comes just after the months-long Veterans Memorial Parkway and State Street intersection project wrapped up.

The latest Ada County Highway District (ACHD) update shows left turns directly from eastbound State Street onto Collister Drive are restricted for the remainder of the project, and there are lane restrictions on State. ACHD and Concrete Placing Company crews are replacing the culvert and bridge just west of the intersection on the north side of State.

RELATED: Boise businesses frustrated by more State Street construction: 'It makes me a little bummed'

Construction isn't expected to wrap up until late 2019. Meanwhile, drivers and some business owners are frustrated. The owner of Terry's State Street Saloon says there's no accountability with the project. He says construction has affected their day-to-day operations at times, particularly when Collister was closed for a couple days with little notice, and when internet and phones were down.

Just a few yards away, the owner of On the Fly convenience store and gas station tells KTVB construction is really hurting his bottom line. What happens when a convenience store is no longer convenient? As we found out, they lose business.

“We're not happy, angry. It's an inconvenience,” On the Fly Assistant Manager Dorothy Bowman said. “It's about cut us in half. It's been bad, it's devastating for us. We're trying to hold on we're doing pretty good thanks to our regulars but it's bad.”

On the Fly is where people stop on their way to work or the mountains.

"People are having trouble stopping by just for gas or anything,” Bowman added.

On the Fly President and Owner Mike Zehner says they lost about a third of their business at the Collister store last month. This month, Zehner expects to be down up to twice that amount.

"In the month of November our total sales was down from last November $42,000,” Zehner told KTVB. “If this takes a hit where we have to start laying off employees and stuff like that and maybe not stay open as much, then it's going to be not good for me, for them.

“I don't have any help I guess from [ACHD] about monetary things," he added. "This is a federal project. I hope there would be some grant money to help these small businesses owners out a little bit.”

Zehner says customers are just as frustrated as he is.

“It's terrible. I mean, there’s no easy way in or out,” Zehner said.

Ada County Highway District is maintaining access to businesses in the shopping complex during construction, but ingress and egress has shifted for some business entrances during work.

Caffeina Coffee Roasting Co. says the highway district has done a good job communicating with them, and Zehner agrees.

“I know what's going on and everything so that's been really good to actually have an idea that it's not being ripped up for no reason,” Caffeina Roasting Co. Manager Molly Ellis said.

Their bottom line hasn't been hit; granted, they're a destination and she believes people will handle the traffic because they want their coffee.

“We're the destination so when you're going to somewhere you're willing to sit in the traffic but when you're just driving by and need gas you're going to be less likely to pull off in a construction zone,” Ellis said. “It's annoying to get through the traffic but really in the end our numbers are still pretty good. It changes times of day in which we see majority of our people.”

Ellis says they definitely hear from customers.

“They say it’s really annoying, that they got stuck," she said. "A lot of people coming into work will get stuck in traffic at unexpected times. What's crazy is you can't get a hang of it."

As a driver, Ellis and Bowman say it’s annoying and at times frustrating to get out of the shopping complex because it gets backed up and drivers are not always considerate enough to leave gaps in front of the business turn-outs.

In the end, the goals are to realign Collister Drive to the west with right and left turn lanes onto State Street, widen State Street, add sidewalks and bike lanes, add a westbound transit stop, create improved Greenbelt access, add another crosswalk across state, and enclose parts of the Farmers Union Canal to accommodate widened roads, sidewalks and bike lanes, among other improvements.

“It will be worth it in the end, it’s just going to take a long time to get there,” Ellis added. “Construction is just always frustrating wherever it is and everybody in Boise knows that and we're going through a lot of it all over town."

You can stay up to date with construction on the ACHD State and Collister Intersection project page.

KTVB reached out to ACHD for a comment on this story, but had not heard back as of Wednesday night.

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