Business owners, motorists slowed by U.S. 30 construction

June 03, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The big problem for Roadsters Diner of late has not been competition from fast food restaurants across the road, but complications from construction along U.S. 30, said Olga Panagos.

"Today, we'll probably not get much business because they're digging up in front of us," Panagos said Wednesday.

Crews were laying new water lines next to the restaurant her family owns at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Stouffer Avenue.

Nor was the restaurant getting calls for meal deliveries, or any calls for that matter, she said.

"Last night, they messed up the phone lines, so we have no phone service," she said. "That's just another bad thing on top of another bad thing."


About 900 Sprint customers lost service Wednesday when an underground cable was accidentally cut, said Sprint Public Affairs manager Yvonne Butts-Mitchell. The cable, with 1,500 pairs of telephone lines, was cut shortly after 4 a.m., she said.

The cable was severed at the Walker Road intersection, said Dick Shoemaker, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project manager on the U.S. 30 widening project. He said a crew from Stone Valley Construction Inc. of Pine Grove Mills, Pa., was installing a water line when it occurred.

"The jury's still out" on how it happened, he said.

Butts-Mitchell said Wednesday it would be well into the night before all customers would have telephone service restored.

"In this situation, we'll be having people restored one by one throughout the day" as lines are reconnected, she said.

Phone service was out at the Pennsylvania State Police barrack on Franklin Farm Lane and at some county offices there, said Gregg Cerrone, a shift supervisor in Franklin County's 911 center. Police maintained communications with portable radios, an emergency back-up radio and wireless phones, he said.

Panagos said it was the latest inconvenience for her business, which was closed two days last week when Stouffer Avenue was shut down for road work.

"As a server, it does affect us, too," said her sister, Maria Panagos. Fewer customers means fewer tips, she said.

Shoemaker said the underground work from Brumbaugh Avenue east to Falling Spring Road will take about another month to complete, if all goes well.

"You never know what's underground. You never know what you're going to encounter," Shoemaker said.

The $27 million project to widen the highway from three to five lanes for about three miles east to Fayetteville, Pa., has squeezed traffic on the east end of Chambersburg, causing long lines of vehicles near Exit 16 of Interstate 81.

"It's generally from about noon on it starts to get backed up," said Bonnie Small, manager of Professional Uniforms & Advertising Specialties, 1238 Lincoln Way East. She said construction west of the store has slowed business some, but they are making the best of it, offering a "Route 30 Road Construction Battle" special of a free gift with purchases over $25.

"It'll be great when it's done. I hope everyone understands that," Shoemaker said.

The project is due for completion in 2006.

Maria Panagos said Roadsters has benefited from new customers - the construction workers.

"They have a good spirit about them and they are always happy," she said.

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