LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The largest roadway improvement project in Las Vegas history has taken three years to complete according to businesses along the affected roads and their customers too.
The Las Vegas Boulevard Construction Project through Downtown Las Vegas began in April 2020, with an anticipated end date of April 27, 2023. Crews have since worked along the boulevard between Sahara and Stewart for the $110 million project that once was estimated to be $125 million.
Along the path sits Viva Las Arepas, a Venezuelan restaurant that opened over a decade ago. Roberto Torres is the general manager and said the three years of construction outside his door led to nearly a quarter of his customer base disappearing.
“It wasn’t just the foot traffic. We believe that it was also people that would come on in that just kind of discourage themselves from even want dealing with what was going on,” Torres said on the restaurant’s patio Friday afternoon.
Loyal customers, he said, turned to food delivery services that had trouble accessing them.
“When we got those delays with orders, we then see the feedback of people saying, ‘What happened? What took so long?’ Unfortunately, people are going to request refunds, and we do see that,” Torres said.
Crews, both next to his restaurant and other businesses along the route, replaced decades-old underground utilities, installed automated vehicle infrastructure, widened sidewalks, planted 300 new trees, added pedestrian safety measures and included other beautification measures.
Back in January, Project Manager Cassandra Watson-Mihelcic told 8 News Now the end date was April 27. A week past that date, cones and minor construction are still seen in various parts of the boulevard.
A city representative told 8 News Now that the project is “substantially completed” while crews ensure all aspects of the project are done through a checklist.
At the time, Watson-Mihelcic acknowledged the necessity of this project while addressing business concerns, like those of Viva Las Arepas.
“We understand that it’s going to be an impact, but I think overall, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a great project that’s going to bring a lot more people downtown,” Watson-Mihelcic said in January.
As for getting his customers back, Torres said they’re attempting to attract them through a loyalty program and different marketing strategies.
“We got to get a lot of it back. We know that some of it was lost,” Torres said, looking at the newly repaved road outside his restaurant.
Watson-Mihelcic said crews tried to minimize the impact on businesses by doing certain work overnight. The city representative additionally added that the project should be officially done by mid-May.