METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) – Torn-up pavement, traffic cones and construction signs are making drivers feel like they are navigating a maze on Severn Avenue in Metairie.

Construction on the street started in the spring of 2020, which is why some Severn Avenue business owners are becoming restless.

“I was thinking it would be a few months of construction, and then it would be beautiful once it’s done, but it’s just been an ongoing project that seems to have never stopped,” said Kevin Bramlett, the co-owner of Health 4 Nola.

Mark Drewes, the public works director for Jefferson Parish, says the revamp of Severn Avenue, to address flooding issues and to make the street more pedestrian-friendly, was supposed to be completed last year, but because of the pandemic, two hurricanes and additional work, the project was extended.

“We added 152 pedestrian and street lighting foundations to the project,” explained Drewes. “We weren’t able to fund it initially, but after the project was bid, we were able to get the funding.”

Lakeside Mall is also now involved in the project.

“Lakeside approached us with extending one of the acceleration lanes, northbound Severn, all the way along JCPenney,” said Drewes. “It’s good for their internal traffic, but it’s also good for the traffic on Severn; we added that work to the job. Lakeside is actually paying for half of that work.”

Severn Avenue business owners say business has suffered because of the project, which has traffic down to one lane in portions of the street and some parking lot entrances blocked off.

“The last week was the worst because of the construction that was done; somehow, it’s now undone,” said Julien Chouest, the vice president of Jeff’s Haberdashery.

According to the public works director, it is common to have damaged concrete panels with a large project.

“There could be a number of reasons. [It] could be that the actual concrete was substandard, etc., but all of that is on the contractor, so the contractor, right now, is actually replacing those damaged panels at his cost,” said Drewes.

The roadwork project is costing $14 million. Federal partners are covering $7.5 million, and 20% of the project’s cost will be paid by the Jefferson Parish Road Bond Program.

Local business owners say they are taking it day by day and hoping for the best.

“I hope 2022,” said Chouest. “I don’t see how it’s going to happen because it seems like there’s just so much left to be done, but we can pray.”

Drewes says the parish is on schedule for completion of the project in mid-October, pending major disruptions, like the weather, but he says they do have included some rain days in their timeline.