We understand the essential need for repair of local streets and bridges, but at the same time we sympathize with private businesses negatively impacted by such projects.
When an infrastructure project unavoidably affects private businesses, we believe the city is obligated to communicate with owners of those businesses and at least consider reasonable steps aimed at minimizing the damage to bottom lines. In other words, it shouldn't ignore private concerns.
In our view, this obligation should apply to planned repair work on the Military Road bridge across the Big Sioux River and reconstruction of Military Road.
On Monday, private business owners and employees from both sides of the bridge - in Sioux City and North Sioux City, S.D. - told city officials and a city consultant closing the bridge for five months (one option under consideration) would be devastating to them.
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"I get business from North Sioux, North Sioux gets business from me, and if you close us down we are all going to die - done - we'll have to find another job," said Perry Antonopoulos, owner of Harvey's, a restaurant at 5307 Military Road.
No solution to the dilemma posed by the need for this bridge and road work is perfect because businesses will be affected one way or another, but a 10-month option on the table in which one side of the bridge would remain open while the other side would undergo work strikes us as a potential compromise acceptable to both sides.
We do not wish to see either Sioux City businesses or North Sioux City businesses connected to Sioux City by Military Road close as a result of this work. Even though affected North Sioux City businesses are located in another city and state, consideration within Sioux City government of their concerns speaks to the spirit of tri-state cooperation that is a hallmark of this metro region.
Even though the 10-month option for this project would increase cost of construction from $2.6 million for the five-month plan to $3.1 million, we believe it's at least worth strong consideration by the City Council.