City gives Broughton Streetscapes construction update

City gives Broughton Streetscapes construction update
Broughton Streetscapes Project (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - After a disastrous 2020, small businesses across the country can finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve been to Broughton Street in the past year, you’ve seen crews tearing up the road and sidewalks. This phase of the Broughton Streetscapes Project was only intended to take a few months, but it’s been a year.

Even though the hotels and restaurants are full, some businesses that are located on what’s considered a main street in the Hostess City, are struggling to get people in their doors.

Businesses along this two-block stretch of Broughton Street were hit back-to-back. This construction project started right as restrictions for the pandemic were put in place. Now, a full year later, the businesses are still not getting any relief.

A facelift for Broughton Street is now causing a headache.

“In the last year, it’s had a negative impact to the business owners,” said David Huynh, Owner of Envy Nail Bar.

Huynh says they have seen a 55-percent decrease in sales over the past year.

“We gage it with the other business owners down the street, they have higher foot traffic, and when you get to this side of Broughton it’s dead, it’s a ghost town on this side,” Huynh said.

He says 70-percent of their customers are tourists and they rely heavily on foot traffic. And so does Morgan Rae Boutique across the street.

“It’s just been a long time coming. It’s been construction dust for about a year,” said Meghan Otenbaker, Morgan Rae Boutique Manager.

Getting materials during the pandemic and some decaying water mains caused construction to last more than 12 months on the first phase of the project.

“There was quite a delay early on and so, now, we are playing a little catch-up but we are on point,” said Susan Broker, Senior Director Special Events Film and Tourism.

The beautification of Broughton Street is back on track.

“Seeing a road getting paved on the ground is like, okay, we are nearing the end of the project, the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Otenbaker.

Hoping real soon, the business boom will reach their end of the street.

“Broughton Street always seemed like this magical place and it is a magical place, it is the hub of our commercial district,” Broker said.

Once the project is complete, there will be new trees, sidewalks, cafe zones and parking. The city says this block will be complete by Friday night as promised, and then they will head east to continue work down the road. Even using ground-penetrating radar as they move down the street to catch any other issues.

Here’s a closer look at the plan for the next phase of construction. According to a public meeting this week, crews plan to close the next section of Broughton Street, from Jefferson to Whitaker streets, on Monday, May 3.

More closures on Broughton Street can be expected for some time. Crews have five blocks in total left for the project.

For more information about the Broughton Streetscapes Project, click here.

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