Broadway reconstruction worries Iowa businesses

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 19:23:35-04
A plan to change one of the busiest roads in Council Bluffs has business owners worried they might have to close.
The approved master plan would change two miles of west Broadway.
While each phase needs approval before digging can start, business owners are already worried the project could cost them big. 
Atherton's Automotive, near 29th and Broadway, survived the Great Depression, World War II, several tornadoes and floods, and an explosion, as one of the oldest Phillips 66 locations in the world. 
Atherton’s owner fears road construction, specifically a plan to install medians, could cut off customers if the city's master plan goes through. 
"We’ve gone through a lot,” said Matt Atherton. “I just hate to see us having to fight government and government's decisions that will be very harmful to our business."
The more than $30 million reconstruction of Broadway isn't likely to begin until March and needs first phase approval.
Business owners are planning for the future. 
"I'd have to make a serious decision on whether I'd stay in the gas station business or not if I had a reduction in customer count and volume,” Athertson said. 
Broadway is dangerous and medians will help prevent many of the wrecks along the city's main drag, said Council Member Melissa Head. 
"You have cars that are trying to pick up speed and merge with traffic while other cars are trying to turn in to businesses,” Head said. “It's just very dangerous."
Head says she understands worries that medians will prevent vehicles from turning into businesses.
She says reconstruction will do more good than harm. 
"It usually helps the value of your business go up,” Head said. “We've seen an increase in property values when this work is done. We're hopeful all of the studies will be proven right and it's not going to harm the business." 
While the Council Bluffs City Council approved the master plan in a four to one vote, each phase of the project will have a separate public hearing and vote.