Paoli businesses discuss the impact of summer construction

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Construction on Wisconsin Highway 69 begins Tuesday, including several projects down the stretch of road, from the Verona area to just outside Paoli.

From April through October, part of the project will include putting a roundabout where Wis 69 and County Highway PB intersect, just outside of Paoli. According to Construction 511 Wisconsin Projects, it will improve safety and traffic flow.

For business owners in Paoli, the construction will clog up two central veins into town during the time of year when business spikes.

“Paoli is seasonal; we get a lot more traffic in the summer and fall,” says Landmark Creamery owner Anna Thomas Bates.

Thomas Bates says that makes business owners in the area a bit nervous when a project like this looms on the horizon.

“Any time it makes it a little more difficult for customers to come to town, we get a little anxious,” said Thomas Bates.

For Paoli Road Mercantile owner Julie Walser, it seems to be one thing after another for the town.

“You know, it’s funny, I’ve been in Paoli almost five years, and in that time, there’s been a flood, a bridge out, a pandemic for two years, so it would be really great if there wasn’t anything going on,” said Walse.

But the resilience through such challenges helps gives the collection of shop owners confidence they can weather this storm. The key will be directing seasonal customers around the construction and ensuring they know the area is still open for business.

“There’s a group of merchants that get together, so we’re definitely talking about signage,” said Thomas Bates. “We also are looking at different advertising that we might not have done in the past, so we’re exploring a few different… print, radio, advertising like that.”

Business owners say they will also meet with Wisconsin DOT on Wednesday for an in-depth look at the construction plan.

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