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Construction Slows Traffic, Business

November 24, 1998|NANCY FORREST

Traffic jams ruled the day Monday as construction crews moved forward with one of the most anticipated roadway projects in the city: the new Victoria Avenue-Ventura Freeway interchange.

Drivers leaned out of car doors to see what was holding up traffic, befuddled by detours and difficulty navigating the streets around the project, which includes a reconfigured Valentine Road west of Victoria Avenue.

Local businesses were also affected by the construction, which has been going on for about two months.

Jim Salzer, owner of Salzer's Video on Valentine Road, said Caltrans informed him Friday of a six-week closure along Victoria Avenue.

He said seasonal sales at his video store, which typically double in December, will drop because of the construction. The news shouldn't be as bad for his record store across Victoria Avenue.

"The record customers are willing to weather the problems. Those customers are a little more hardy," Salzer said. "The city had promised not to impact our business during November and December but called Monday to apologize."

The Shell gas station at Valentine Road and Victoria Avenue has experienced a 30% drop in sales since construction started, according to the station manager. Twenty-minute traffic delays and periodic night closures of Victoria Avenue have caused customers to bypass the station.

But across the street at the Texaco station the mood was upbeat.

"The construction has had a positive effect on my business," said station manager Steve Murray. "It hasn't affected us at all. I'm so busy right now that there is no room to park."

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