“I can’t remember a headache this big or a project this challenging,” said Des Moines City Councilwoman, Christine Hensley.
For more than a year, Hensley has received regular progress reports on the Grand Avenue Bridge project.
The problem is, they have hardly been progress reports at all.
News of asbestos, boulders in the creek below, and Indian artifacts all mean this project being further behind than the city thought.
On Thursday, Hensley not only learned the bridge wouldn’t be ready until the end of November but was also the bearer of bad news.
“We hand delivered letters to businesses on this side of the bridge that were impacted,” said Hensley.
Sean King was managing a family owned donut shop when he got word that customers east of 63rd Street will have two more months of detours to get a fresh pastry.
Before the bridge closed in March, business was steady at the shop until 2 p.m.
Now he closes his doors before the lunch rush even begins.
“The bridge was bringing in the afternoon lunch crowd. For people getting a hamburger, they might need something sweet and they’d come in and get that. That’s not happening anymore,” said King.
While businesses struggle to stay in the red, the city will actually save a little money on construction.
Jenco Construction will be fined $5,000 dollars for each day the project is completed behind schedule.
Hensley says she would have preferred to see the bridge open on time.
“You’ve gone from being a major thoroughfare to a dead end street. That clearly has consequences,” Hensley told Channel 13 News.