When Dan Wolff opened his fourth Power Wash car wash in the Quad-Cities on May 1, he knew there was a rugged road ahead — literally.
Wolff’s new location is at 60th Street and John Deere Road in Moline, where work is ongoing to expand 2.51 miles of the roadway to six lanes between 38th and 70th streets. The work involves five feeder streets as well as John Deere.
But instead of bemoaning the collateral chaos caused by the construction, Wolff has embraced what the future holds.
“We dragged our feet on the project until we realized that business was going to start slow anyhow,” he said Friday.
“The road construction has affected us,” he said. “It’s definitely affected us."
McCarthy Improvement Co. is the contractor for the $5.1 million John Deere Road project that is expected to be mostly completed by November 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The type of construction that has played havoc with Wolff's new business can be found throughout the Quad-Cities as crews take advantage of summer weather to complete roadwork projects.
In Davenport, crews resumed work on Brady Street that had come to a temporary standstill during last month's Quad-City Times Bix 7. Digging up sidewalks began Friday.
It was something Alex Nagel, bar manager at CRU Bottle Shoppe at 221 Brady St. knew was coming. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, business was slow.
“We open at 4 p.m. and usually by about 5 or 5:30 we have 15-20 people in here,” Nagel said. “But the construction has slowed things down. Part of our saving grace is the private events we cater. We have a room in the back that groups can rent for private parties.”
Nagel said that CRU has been open for just about 2½ years and its ambience attracts a wide array of customers.
“We’re not keyed into one specific demographic,” Nagel said. “Our customers are middle 20s and up. We get a good portion of the downtown professional crowd, but really we see all demographics in here.”
Back in Moline, River Drive is closed from 23rd Street to 34th Street for road patching and resurfacing. Construction also is occurring on Avenue of the Cities between 35th Street Court and 41st Street. Also, 19th Street is closed in the area of Interstate 74 for construction related to the I-74 bridge project.
In Bettendorf during the 2017 construction season, drivers have had to contend with resurfacing projects on Middle Road and Spruce Hills Drive as well as the Forest Grove Drive reconstruction. Also, anyone coming into Iowa via the Interstate 74 bridge off ramp at Bettendorf has seen a big change at Grant and State streets, also related to construction of the new bridge.
In Rock Island, the northbound lanes of 24th Street between 4th and 5th avenues is closed for sewer repair, and on Monday the intersection of 106th Avenue West and 35th Street West will be closed to complete storm sewer replacement.
In Davenport, there are 24 road construction projects in the works, including Kimberly Road at Division Street, River Drive between Gaines and Brown streets, and Brady Street between River Drive and 7th Street, according to the city’s website.
The Starting Line sits next door to CRU on the east side of Brady Street between East 2nd and 3rd streets.
“We have our regular after-work customers and our regulars who live downtown,” James Larson of The Starting Line said Wednesday as he produced beers for two customers.
“The construction ... makes it tough to attract those new customers businesses want,” Larson said as he looked out the front window of the bar. “But when it’s all done it’s going to look great.”
Davenport City Engineer Brian Schadt said Friday that Brady Street about two to three weeks from being completed. Since recent flooding on the Mississippi River has subsided, he added that work will need to be done on the storm manhole at River Drive and Brady Street. Another potential wrinkle would be problems that workers find beneath the current concrete.
When it all gets done and the new street lights are in place, Nagel said, “It’s really going to look nice. It will fit with the ambience of CRU. It will be very good for business."
Wolff, whose Moline car wash launch was affected by John Deere Road work, has been in the business for more than two decades, and he understands the hurdles that business owners are facing these days.
Certainly, he said, to be a small business without other locations to take up the slack would make it tough to weather such a construction storm.
“But this is progress in motion,” Wolff said. “John Deere Road is going to be much better when it’s done, so I don’t mind change and progress. You just have to suck it up. You can either jump on the train or get run over by it.”