Traffic delays ahead as Swanson Avenue project begins

May 3, 2019

Work on Swanson Avenue has begun and one business owner isn’t happy about what it may due to his business.

Steve Thomas, who owns and operates Streetside Coffee located on Swanson, between South Acoma Boulevard and Cypress Drive, said he doesn’t know if his business will be able to stay open due to the disruption with street work that city officials say will improve the area.

The work will also include a new multi-use path on the south side as well as a new bike lane on the north side of the roadway. The narrowing of Swanson is also meant to slow down vehicles and improve pedestrian safety. Pedestrian facilities also will be brought up to ADA standards.

“When they had meetings about this, we made our suggestions and that was to repave and restripe,” Thomas said. “But they said the bike community spoke the loudest and we’re not sure of the validity of that. They said to get the federal funding to do the work, bike paths had to be part of it.”

Thomas said when street parking was shut down on Swanson Avenue for a water main to be installed his business dropped 35 to 40 percent.

“We’ve been building our business for the last 4 ½ to 5 years and this just squashes 3 years of growth,” Thomas said.

Ashlee Denisty, a Havasu native, said business was really slow Thursday.

“There’s so much work going on in the city, everyone is very frustrated just trying to get around and our business has really been slow today,” Denisty said.

While Streetside does have about six to 10 parking spots behind the shop, Thomas said it’s hard for some of his customers to get down them.

“They told us we could make it ADA compliant, but that takes $10,000 or $12,000 and we don’t have that kind of money,” Thomas said.

The $2 million project will run seven-tenths of a mile from University Way to Scott Drive. The project is funded primarily with federal-aid funds (94.3 percent) and managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The project is anticipated to take approximately four to six months to complete.

Previously, Vicki Giomi, owner of Vicki’s Grooming, said she’s been there 21 years and she’s not happy with the proposed work.

“It’s going to kill a lot of small businesses there,” Giomi said at a meeting in March. “There are dirt parking lots behind some of the businesses, but they are raised and for some people to walk down over the slopes or the sidewalk, it’s pretty steep. And it’s tough for older people or disabled people.”

Giomi has parking behind her building, off of Van Vliet Lane, but as she described, there is a staircase that must be navigated before anyone can enter her business.

Motorists in Lake Havasu City who use Swanson Avenue east of Smoketree Avenue and west of Acoma Boulevard should expect construction delays weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning this week and continuing through late summer while an improvement project is underway.

While business access will be maintained at all times, on-street parking was removed Thursday. Construction signage is in place providing access to businesses and local streets throughout the project area.

City officials said speeds limits will be reduced in the work zone. Motorists should use caution around construction personnel and equipment.

For more information, please contact Michele Beggs, ADOT Community Relations Project Manager at email: Mbeggs@azdot.gov or 928.681.6054.