- Gina Pritchard posed a question many Main Street merchants like herself want answered.
"When will it end?" the frustrated owner of Mommy & Me Consignments asked rhetorically on Monday.
Pritchard was referring to a UGI Utilities' project involving the replacement of antiquated gas lines beneath Main Street, and to further street work.
The end is in sight, at least for the gas project according to PennDOT, which anticipates the completion of the project in July.
Also, much to the relief of many Main Street merchants, UGI will soon switch its work schedule to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
"That would make a huge difference," said Jill McConnell, who with Heather Amato owns Finders Keepers Consignment Boutique at 903 Main Street.
However, Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. of Honesdale, is expected to start a project on the opposite side of Main Street when the gas work is completed.
An official from Aqua could not be reached by press time Monday.
Aside from UGI's rescheduling, the boutique owners are not happy with the condition of Main Street. They wrote a scathing letter recently to borough council.
The letter reads in part, "We are writing this letter to you today (April 18) to make you clearly aware that as business owners in the Borough of Honesdale - we are beyond disgusted with not only the conditions of our Main Street, but on THIS day (a busy Good Friday) there is a partial one lane of traffic open through town and the deafening sound of construction. ... This was the absolute best time to do 'whatever it is' that is blocking off commuters and guests, along with a potentially profitable business day?"
According to UGI, gas main replacement is being performed from the 400 to 1100 blocks of Main Street. It totals 3,850 feet.
On Monday morning much of the work was concentrated in the 600 block, with a few side streets intermittently closed.
The Honesdale project is part of a $1.2 billion statewide initiative to replace gas mains.
UGI has been replacing cast iron and bare steel mains with contemporary materials. In addition, there's been pressure reinforcements to accommodate system growth, service line and meter replacements and regulator station work.
Businesses are feeling the financial pinch and hope the projects will be over as soon as possible.
Pritchard said she understands the work needs to be performed "but can we please dig it up once and be done with it."
Mark Figura, owner of Papa's Primo Pizza in the 600 block, said the construction has left no where for customers to park. His delivery drivers park in the back of the businesses, but have trouble navigating through the traffic, leading to complaints from customers about late deliveries.
"It's definitely a hindrance," Figura said.
Delivery drivers at another restaurant, Tubby's Heros, have no where to park but on the pock-marked Main Street congested with construction vehicles.
"There are no places to park in back. The drivers have a hard time," said owner June Badgley.
The businesswoman said the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule is a step in the right direction but, "They should have been doing that all the while."
Badgley said the work has been taking away business and Honesdale is not thriving like it used to.
"Nobody wants to come to town. We're doing what we can do to survive and we can't," she said.
Mike Augello, owner of Music & Video Express, thanked his "loyal customers" for frequently the store despite the construction.
He said that on Friday there was heavy construction in front of the business but customers still came to the shop.
Augello added that there's "no question" the night work will be better for businesses.
Honesdale Borough Councilman Robert Jennings, owner of Jennings Jewelers, said the condition of Main Street has also caused other problems. He pointed to a spiderweb-like crack in the front of his store.
It was caused by a large truck driving into an oversized pot hole in front of his shop, he said.
"We felt the vibrations," Jennings said.
He's not the only one.
McConnell, of Finders Keepers, said, "Everything rattles."
Other road work in Wayne County includes:
• State Route 652 (Narrowsburg Bridge) will be single lane controlled by a traffic light until further notice.
• State Route 1002 Skinners Falls Bridge in Damascus Township has a weight restriction of four tons.
• State Route 1004 will be single lane for the replacement of a bridge over Beaver Dam Creek with an estimated completion in November 2013
• State Route 3028 (Owego Turnpike) in Cherry Ridge is currently closed with a detour. Estimated completion is July 2014.