High Speed Rail construction driving some customers away from Northwest Fresno businesses

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The intersection of Ashlan Avenue and Golden State Blvd. is ground zero for the Highway 99 Realignment Project to room for High Speed Rail. (KFSN)

The intersection of Ashlan Avenue and Golden State Boulevard is ground zero for the Highway 99 Realignment Project to make room for High-Speed Rail in Northwest Fresno.

Caltrans is building a new overpass for Ashlan Avenue and moving both Golden State Boulevard and Highway 99 one hundred feet to the west.

Construction began nearly two years ago and it's making access to local businesses is a difficult task. Drivers must navigate through detours and lane closures just to get to their favorite fast restaurant or billiards place.

"It can be a little confusing to some. So we ask that motorists in the area pay extra attention to the traffic flow and the signs," said Sam Yniguez of Caltrans.

The owner of Blue Fin Billiards at Ashlan and Golden State relies on those signs to attract customers to his business.

Tom Hill says walk-in business has dropped off 100 percent and that has produced a significant loss for his pool hall.

"If you don't know where to turn, it is very easy to miss your turn and you get over here where the traffic is congested," said Hill. "I've actually had people tell me, 'Yeah, I tried to get in the other day and we just left because we couldn't get in.'"

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand understands the frustration local businesses and drivers have during the construction project but he says it will be worth in the long run.

"We're getting millions of dollars invested with infrastructure improvements, (removing railroad) at-grade crossings but there is some inconvenience to it, closing down some streets and so on," said Mayor Brand. "But remember, as we talk today there are hundreds of people being employed with good paying jobs by the high-speed rail."

Businesses can contact Caltrans to evaluate their loss of business during construction which should be complete in January of 2019.
Related Topics:
traffictrafficconstructionhigh speed railFresno - Northwest
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