Businesses look at effects the proposed roundabout may have on their foot traffic

Local businesses off of South Elm and East South Street looks at impacts of proposed roundabout
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 8:12 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings city council members discussed a roundabout during their work session Monday. The roundabout was projected to be located at the intersection of South Elm and East South Street. Although construction of the project wasn’t planned to begin for another few years, two local businesses in the area were already looking for how it could have effects on their business.

President of Big Dally’s Deli Incorporated, Mike Bruns, said he was slightly concerned for his restaurant -- especially when construction began.

“I know that it will have some effect, especially during construction. And if it lasts two years, that could be a killer for driving traffic away because we’re right on the corner. And whenever you do huge construction, people will avoid you like the Plague,” Bruns said.

He added, he believe the roundabout could potentially drive more business to the deli after it was completed, but noted he was concerned for the short-term impacts the construction could have on his business as well as others in the area.

Down the street from the proposed project sits a train track, which Bruns said tended to cause quite the congestion in the current intersection.

Catty corner to Big Dally’s, Eldon’s Automotive Repair owner, Andy Huffaker, said he was unsure about the roundabout and how it would fit in with this current vehicle backup from the trains.

“I’m concerned to all the train track here to the north because, if there’s a train across the tracks, then no one is going to be moving anywhere. And that happens quite frequently here,” Huffaker said.

Huffaker continued to say, he wanted the Nebraska Department of Transportation to inform businesses in the area of projects, such as the roundabout, on what their plans are before they pitch the idea.

Although he was uncertain of the project, he looked toward the benefits the roundabout could have.

“If it’s a positive thing for the city of Hastings, then I’m all for it,” he said. “However, a little more clarity on what’s going on is always helpful, especially for us business owners.”

The roundabout was still in the planning stages and construction wasn’t planned to begin until 2025.

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