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Broad Ripple businesses ask for city’s assistance after construction delays hurt profits

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Posted at 8:13 PM, Nov 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-16 20:13:48-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Businesses in Broad Ripple are asking the city for help as on-going construction has taken longer than local businesses were told it would last.

Chelsey Wetzel, owner of Union Jack, says her business has lost “into six figures” due to the construction.

“There have been months that have been as much as 70% down. It’s unbelievable really,” Wetzel said.

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Road construction signs and detours through local neighborhoods have become a long-term problem.

It was supposed to be a short-term solution to improving the infrastructure on Broad Ripple Avenue and alleviate sewer and flooding issues.

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“We prepared to have some business hit but we were going to have a better street after. We were willing and able to do that,” Wetzel said. “When you are planning for 150 to 200 days, because that’s what you are told, but then it hits 580 days, there is no way to plan for that as a business.”

Businesses aren’t the only collateral damage.

Residents of neighborhoods near Broad Ripple Avenue say more people are driving through the area and not obeying the speed limit, although there are flashing signs with posted speed limits.

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“Living off of Winthrop, we’ve gone from being a side street to a major thoroughfare,” Broad Ripple resident Thomas Peterson said. “The same people that don’t know how to do roundabouts, don’t know how to do side streets either. It’s been dangerous and time consuming to get through the intersections.”

Originally, the department of Public Works said the construction on Broad Ripple Avenue would be done by the end of summer 2022.

Broad Ripple Avenue reopened to traffic in Sept. 2023, but now the east portion of the street is closed.

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 DPW wouldn’t grant an on camera interview with WRTV. They sent us the following statement:

Indy DPW is days away from completing the most disruptive traffic elements in the Broad Ripple Avenue Improvements project. When finalized, long-running issues related to flooding will be resolved, along with safer pedestrian facilities and beautification initiatives. The investment of more than $8 million into the neighborhood's infrastructure promises to be a boon for residents and business owners for decades to come.

 

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Regardless of what the city says, business owners say it will take a while for them to bounce back from this.

“Some sort of compensation for the over run here and the extra impact we have taken on would be helpful,” Wetzel said. “If that’s not possible, I would love to see recovery effort for the village as a whole.”

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In a follow-up correspondent with DPW, WRTV was told the project was delayed due to utility issues in both 2022 and 2023.

The closures that are currently taking place allow for the creation of the Broad Ripple Riverwalk – a 2-foot-wide multi-use path connecting from the Monon Trail to Primrose Avenue.

DPW says with good weather, all major road work could be done by Nov. 18. The department says there will still be some minor work following that, including pavement markings, bike rack installations and tree plantings.

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