Route 114 washout takes financial toll on Stoney Creek businesses

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Route 114 washout takes financial toll on Stoney Creek businesses

Small businesses on both sides of the Route 114 washout near Stoney Creek say the detour is costing them money and they hope the province can get the road open again soon.

Jay Lee, owner of Brian's Convenient Store, said Tuesday that he's been losing sleep over the damage the 22-kilometre detour has done to his business.

"It's been closed for six days and business is down almost 60 per cent," he said.

Through traffic is being diverted away from Lee's small gas bar, which is near the washout.

"Now I'm smiling at customers, but inside, I'm crying," he said.

He said he's already worrying about next month's bills.

A few years ago, he said, a washout closed the road for 14 days, and it took him six months to recover financially.

On the other side of the divide, Don and Marcie Pauley run their family beef farm, Jo-Dreen Farm. The detour means extra time and money for gas for farm supplies.

"Anything that we have to have brought in, like fuel or feed or anything to do with the cows," said Don Pauley. He's also concerned about the time it would take to respond to any emergencies involving his cattle.

"If we need a veterinarian in now [it's] 45 minutes away or more," he said. "Forty-five could be the difference between a cow living or dying."

Pauley said he wishes the province would tend to weaknesses in the road sooner.

"The worst of it is the tax bills and everything else keeps going up and they don't do anything to repair the roads here. There's been washouts on the side of this road here since last year and never been fixed."

The Department of Transportation said it is waiting until the ground around the collapse stabilizes, because it is not a safe place to work at the moment.

Shawn Berry, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in an email that  an "on-site detour" will be built as soon as possible.

"Water continues to build up on the upstream side of the washout at Stoney Creek," Berry wrote. "The buildup is occurring because the culvert at the location collapsed in the washout and is no longer functioning. A trench was dug to help channel the rising water, but the ground at the location is unstable and crews cannot work on it."

The province had planned to work on the Stoney Creek culvert this coming spring, but according to Berry, "the washout will make it more difficult to proceed with that plan."