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Sherwood Forest roadwork to resume as river levels fall

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BATON ROUGE - Many people are unhappy with the unfinished construction on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The project began in January to flatten bumps and fix the sidewalk, but was halted when high river levels didn't allow material to be shipped down the Mississippi River. Now, river levels are falling, and the city-parish says work will resume soon.

One business owner says construction is driving customers away. Literally.

"My business is off over 13-percent," Jarrell Hopper told WBRZ. "It's not good. It's not good at all for business. If you talk to customers and ask why they haven't come in a while, they say they don't want to come down the street."

What's worse is that the road has been left in an unfinished condition for weeks. The project began in January and caused a lot of traffic problems as lanes were closed to work on the road's surface. When high river levels prevented asphalt from being shipped down the Mississippi River, construction halted.

"We've been told just recently, it was yesterday, that the river will be down to a point where we can start shipping the material down here by the end of the week," said the city's transportation and drainage director Fred Raiford.

The city-parish says they had to wait for this particular asphalt to complete the project.

"I think that's what sometimes people don't understand," Raiford said. "When you use federal dollars, they have a certain product that you have to use."

But there will be even more waiting. Once the barge starts it's journey, it will take about two weeks to reach Baton Rouge. If all goes according to plan, the city says drivers could be driving on new asphalt by September. 

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