PEARLAND, Texas -- At Advanced Appliance Sales and Service in Pearland, Eric Brandhoff is about as lonely as the Maytag repairman.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Brandhoff said. “I’ve had to lay off three people.
There's plenty of traffic passing his store, but even if someone wanted to stop, there's no direct entrance and not much of a place to park.
“We were shut down for days with no access to the property,” Brandhoff said. “The entry was blocked off totally, actually for weeks at a time.”
His business, family owned and operated for 40 years, has gone from grossing $1 million a year to $250,000, and he blames it on a construction project to widen a stretch of Highway 35 that began three and a half years ago.
The story is the same just down the street at SB Hobbies, where Kevin Dority says business is off by as much as 30 percent.
“You show up, and you can't even get into your own business,” Dority said. “It's pretty ridiculous.”
He says it's not just the heavy equipment that was sometimes blocking his shop.
“They've cut phone lines so many times, I don't even remember,” Dority said. “Over a dozen times.
The project was supposed to be completed in October of last year. TXDOT blames some of the delays on utility conflicts involving buried lines, but says once complete...the road will greatly enhance mobility and safety in Pearland.
No one here is disputing that.
“In the long run it's going to help,” Dority said.
Still with a completion not anticipated until early 2014, they’re more concerned about surviving the here and now.
“This whole process has been ridiculous,” Brandhoff said.