HAYWARD -- Merchants along a stretch of Mission Boulevard were surprised this week to find the street torn up in front of their businesses. They thought the project had been finished months ago.
"All these businesses have been suffering. Finally we were a little happy that it's done. And then just like that, they tear up the street," said Saras Rao, owner of Curry Corner at 26657 Mission Blvd.
"Tuesday, we got here, and the street was all torn up," said Lia Altan of The Sweet Art of Cake at 26647 Mission Blvd.
As part of the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project, crews have put in new sidewalks, streetlights and a landscaped median on Mission Boulevard from Harder Road to Calhoun Street, and are continuing the work on the other stretches on the boulevard.
It looked to merchants that the work was complete in March, Altan said. "Customers were finally beginning to return.
"Now, one entire lane is dirt. A lot of people are barely hanging on, and this really hurts our business. They didn't warn us," Altan said.
Morad Fakhrai, Hayward public works director, engineering and transportation, said the sidewalk portion had been finished but the road still need to be repaved. "The pavement was in very bad shape. In order for us to put in a good pavement surface, some of the deteriorated asphalt has to be removed," he said.
"We put up signs last Friday alerting drivers that there would be one lane of traffic only for this week
He said the road should be repaved either Saturday or Monday.
The work is being done as part of the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project on Foothill Boulevard, Mission Boulevard to Industrial Parkway, and along A and D streets.
Funded largely with Alameda County Transportation Authority Measure B funds, work began in 2010 on the project, which the city estimates will be complete in spring 2013.
Compounding the merchants' frustration, Altan said, is that when they called the city to find out what was going on, they were referred to Kevin Briggs, project manager for the Route 238 Corridor Project, only to discover that Briggs is on vacation.
"They never tell us anything. They never give us any notice," said Sharma Om, owner of Beauty Plus Salon at 26601 Mission Blvd., who estimates his business is down by more than half. "There's a lot of dust, a lot of noise."
Fakhrai was surprised that the merchants were not aware of what was going on.
"My staff has been knocking on doors, letting them know about the project. We know that they will be inconvenienced. We are trying to accommodate them as best we can.
"If they need more information, questions or requests, we want to hear from them. They are the ones who know what's needed for them."
Jim Abraham of Super Oil Change & Tune Up, said all the work is killing business. "Nobody is happy. My business is down 80 percent from what it was before this started," said Abraham, who has been in operation for 15 years. He said he may have to close his shop.
"Nobody wants to drive down here," he said. "Without the customers, how do we make money?"
Rebecca Parr can be reached at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.
Pedestrians could get some relief within a few months on street corners in downtown Hayward, which has been torn up as part of the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project.
Some of the corners along A Street have been finished, said Hector Leuterio, a city engineer, but workers have encountered unexpected problems with underground utilities, so it's hard to give an exact date for completion of all the corners.
On Foothill Boulevard, the corners could not be finished until foundations could be measured for five new traffic signal bridges that will span the street.
The bridges, which are about 180 feet wide, have to be fabricated to order, said Morad Fakhrai, another city engineer. Each bridge is slightly different. "They're really large, and need large foundations," he said. The bridges should arrive by end of the summer, with installation taking three to four weeks.
For more information on the project, call Fakhrai at 510-583-4740 or go to user.govoutreach.com/hayward.