McKINNEY -- Businesses at North Central Expressway and Eldorado Parkway in McKinney say highway construction is driving their customers away.
The work created detours along frontage roads and exit closures at Eldorado. Merchants are frustrated and worried.
Customers who want to shop at Eldorado Plaza have no easy task. "I haven't seen any new faces for a while now... new customers," said cigar shop owner Alex Tesfay.
The U.S.75-Eldorado Parkway interchange is being rebuilt as part of the North Central Expressway widening project. It's about one-quarter complete.
Business owners like Alex Tesfay say the impact could send his establishment up in smoke. "I don't know how long I'm going to be lasting here," he said.
Before construction started in January, it was hard to find an open table at the usually busy Christina's Mexican Restaurant. That’s not the case anymore.
"To get here from the highway, you have to go two exits down and turn back around," said Christina Ramsey, a manager at the eatery. "So we've seen the decline. Customers are not happy about it."
We drove northbound on U.S. 75 from the Sam Rayburn Tollway. To get to Eldorado Plaza, we had to drive two miles north to the Virginia Parkway exit, turn around and come back south another two miles to enter the shopping center parking lot.
"Customers have to go through a lot of hassle just to get into the shopping center," Tesfay said. "So it's affecting me a lot."
Texas Department of Transportation officials call it "growing pains." They told us they've worked closely with the contractor, businesses, homeowners and city leaders to minimize the impact.
The Eldorado interchange won't be finished until late 2013. The entire widening project won't be done until two years after that.
Some businesses fear they won't survive those growing pains.