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The Times
  • Canal Place businesses remain open during construction

  • Some Canal Place business owners want people to know the open sign is still in their windows, despite the construction that started in the area earlier this week.

    The South Ann Street bridge replacement project is now under way, but is causing some congestion with parking in the area.

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  • Some Canal Place business owners want people to know the open sign is still in their windows, despite the construction that started in the area earlier this week.
    The South Ann Street bridge replacement project is now under way, but is causing some congestion with parking in the area.
    “It’s hard to tell, it’s so early on in the project,” said Michelle Hansen, owner of the Ann Street Deli, on whether the construction has been affecting her business. “So far, so good. Everybody is parking wherever they can. The [construction] company is working with the businesses to keep as much parking available for us and to keep everything safe. Everything is going as smooth as possible.”
    Hansen said customers have, so far, been understanding with the construction.
    “Everybody wants the bridge done,” she said.
    James Aufmuth, who has owned the Canal Side Inn for the past 30 years at 395 Canal Place, said the area has really developed over the last 15 years.
    “They had to replace the bridge. Now that it’s happening, the reality is it’s more difficult for people to come down here,” he said. “The business owners met this week and we’re trying to do as much as we can to let people know that yes, all the businesses are open though there is construction going on.”
    Aufmuth said owners of the cluster of businesses in that area are working together to find alternatives to parking. Additional parking will be available for patrons on East and West Mill streets. Construction workers — who are occupying one half of the parking lot at the Stone Mill Inn — said the street will be free for parking after 5 p.m. when they have finished for the day, according to Aufmuth. He also said George’s Lumber will be open for parking after 5 p.m.
    “Everybody is helping out. There’s a real neighborhood thing going on here,” said Aufmuth.
    New Century Construction, of Glenmont, is performing the work after the city council approved of its low bid of $1,488,000. The project is being completed in accordance with specifications prepared by Albany-based engineering firm WSP SELLS.
    Built in 1933, the city-owned South Ann Street bridge has been red-flagged by the state Department of Transportation and is considered to be functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.
    Plans call for the bridge, which spans the Mohawk River and remains the primary vehicle and pedestrian route from the city’s downtown to Loomis and Moss islands, to be replaced with a one-lane, 20-ton bridge with a sidewalk on the upstream side and a bicycle lane on the downstream side.
    Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters said he wants to see the work completed by the end of 2012, so business owners will likely be dealing with the construction for four to five months.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Like everything, the glass is half empty or half full,” said Aufmuth. “Any time there is construction, there is a certain inconvenience. But there is plenty of alternatives.”

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