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Con Edison Work Slowing Down Local Businesses

On-going construction in Van Nest is beginning to aggravate local merchants who claim it is affecting their businesses.

Since early June, Con Edison has been working at the intersection of Morris Park Avenue and Victor Street, replacing a 63-year-old gas line.

As a result of the construction, heavy traffic has developed during morning and afternoon rush hours and numerous parking spaces have been blocked-off or have been filled with utility company vehicles.

Guy Bartolotta of Jampol Hardware on 678 Morris Park Avenue said the construction has been going on for too long. He and other local store owners understand the work that has to get done, but after nearly four months, he said it is certainly affecting everyday business.

“There are just way too many parking spots lost here. A lot of our clients have to park their cars and pick up supplies from us, but now they can’t because there’s nowhere to park,” Bartolotta said. “It’s a mess to drive here during the day and all of our customers have nowhere to park. We can’t even get straight answers. Nobody knew they were going to start, and nobody knows when they’re going to finish.”

The City Department of Environmental Protection was performing much-needed sewer work on the corner of Victor Street and Morris Park Avenue in late May when Con Edison determined upon inspection that the 24-inch gas main under the intersection was in dire need of replacement.

Con Edison believed it was the perfect opportunity to begin work on the gas main while the street was open, but could not start until DEP completed the sewer maintenance.

By Friday, September 2, Con Edison was still working at the intersection after nearly four months of construction. Rolando Infante, Con Edison public affairs manager for the Bronx, understands that local merchants are upset, but said the work must be completed and is moving along.

“This was not pre-scheduled work. It was only discovered while the sewer work was being performed,” Infante said. “It was best that the condition of the gas line was found this way so that we could avoid work in the future. The gas line being replaced will benefit businesses and residents in the entire area, and we appreciate their patience.”

Local resident and Community Board 11 member Joe Bombace has been concerned with ongoing construction as well. He suggested perhaps opening the vacant parking lot of recently closed St. Dominic’s School for Con Edison employees to place their vehicles during the remaining time of construction to free-up parking spaces.

Infante would not comment, but did assure that construction of the gas main will be completed in three weeks.

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