After months of road construction and utility work, the intersection at Alma School and Ray roads in Chandler will be finished, allowing business to return to normal.
“All of the barricades are down and it’s back in business,” said Jane Poston, a Chandler spokeswoman.
The road construction at the intersection began in March, which at times made it difficult for customers to enter the more than 40 businesses, non-profits and churches on all four corners.
The project cost more than $7 million, most of which was federally funded with about 5.7 percent locally funded, Poston said. It entailed adding additional left turn lanes, designated right turn lanes and a third through-lane to reduce the number of accidents.
In other Chandler intersections with similar improvements, accidents have been reduced by 38 percent to 40 percent, Poston said.
However, these improvements didn’t come without cost to the local businesses.
“My business lost more than $10,000,” said Matthew Kuriakose, the owner of Aspen Water and Ice, which sells among other things, bottled water and bags of ice.
During the three or four summer months of road construction, Kuriakose said his business was struggling.
“My season is summer, so I’m waiting for next summer,” he said.
Others were also impacted during the construction, but to a lesser degree.
“It definitely impacted my business by about 30 percent,” said John Terrigino, owner of Advantage Pawn located on the northeast corner. “But it’s definitely coming back to life.”
Kuriakose is somewhat less optimistic about a business turnaround.
“I hope so,” he said. “I hope so.”
While traffic is now normal outside his store, he still lost about half of his customers, he said.
Some businesses weren’t as susceptible to construction issues, such as Ink Bomb Tattoo, owned by Tabatha Hutchins.
“Yes, we definitely had fewer customers from construction,” she said.
However, much of her business is referral-based, and they’ve been able to keep people coming in, she said.
“The city has been so much better in the way they kept in touch,” she said.
In 2003, at a previous Ink Bomb location at Elliot and Dobson, a similar street widening project wasn’t as well planned, Hutchins said.
During this project, the businesses were kept well informed, she said.
“Communication was better and it made me, as a business owner, be able to see that the project was staying up-to-date,” she said.
During the construction, there was only one small hiccup, she said.
“We lost water just once when we were open,” she said. “Luckily, most of our customers come in the afternoon and evening, so we were only inoperable for a couple of hours.”
To celebrate the reopening of the intersection, the four corners are having a party Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
The event will have live music by the Chubby Dog Band, as well as free activities, including bouncy houses, face painting, pony rides and fire trucks and police vehicles on display.
During the event, people can show receipts of purchases made at the center between Oct. 29 and Nov. 4 for raffle tickets to enter to win up to $500 in prizes, including two Southwest Airlines tickets.
Aspen Water and Ice is located at 940 N. Alma School Road. Advantage Pawn is at 1099 N. Alma School Road. And, Ink Bomb Tattoo is located at 961 W Ray Road, Suite 14, and can be found online at www.inkbombaz.com.