Madera business owner says forced to close due to Caltrans project

FRESNO, Calif.

The Super Seven Food Mart is located on Highway 145 near Highway 99.The store owner says construction on Highway 145 has cut his sales by more than half.

Now he's asking Caltrans to make some changes before he goes out of business. This is the median Khalid Chaudhry says is going to force his convenience store into foreclosure and put the two families who run it on welfare.

"This place has a potential of 70 to 90 thousand per month sales. They're hardly making 25 to 30 thousand because there's no front access, so people go straight, they just keep driving straight," Super 7 Food Mart owner Khalid Chaudhry said.

Chaudhry says Caltrans added this median separating the north and southbound lanes of Highway 145 as part of a widening project but as a result northbound traffic cannot turn left into his store. And u-turns are not allowed at the nearby intersection.

He says a curb was also built across the front of his parking lot so people driving south have a harder time accessing the store as well. And that's not all.

"When they left they did not restore the property back to its original position. Because wires are hanging, our wiring was concealed. They did not put irrigation lines back," Chaudry said.

Chaudry says since the construction, sales have slumped so much that he's only collecting half the rent from his two tenants. But they're still struggling to make ends meet.

"It's too hard, anybody try to it's a 40 hour week, and I work 100 hours in week." Super 7 Food Mart Tenant Joginder Basra said.

Chaudrhy has started a petition to have changes made that would provide easier access to his store, and he sent a formal complaint to Caltrans.

When Action News contacted Caltrans we were told the interim district six director is working on a formal response that will be mailed to Chaudhry very soon.

Caltrans says it will also share a copy of that formal response letter with action news as soon as it's mailed to Chaudhry.

Caltrans information about the Highway 145 project itself says the work was done using federal stimulus money to create a safe, smooth commute for drivers.

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