Drivers and beachgoers in South Florida are no strangers to road closures and months-long of construction projects.
But Fort Lauderdale’s latest road closure could affect summer tourism on the city’s busy Las Olas Blvd.
Starting on Monday July 9, the two blocks of Las Olas Blvd. that connect to Fort Lauderdale Beach will be closed for construction...for nearly four months.
Christian Lohr is a bartender at the longtime beach hangout, The Elbo Room. The bar is located at the intersection where the road closures start.
Lohr said he doesn’t expect it to hurt business too badly for now because people can still walk in from the beach. But he can see it affecting how people can use rideshares, like Uber and Lyft.
“A lot of the drop off points are right over here,” Lohr said. “Now they’ll have to go all the way around. But, this is a slow time of year anyway, so it’s really hard to judge that, you know what I mean?”
The closures are all part of the start of the city’s $49 million dollar Las Olas Beach Park Project. It’s a plan that includes building two new waterfront parks in the area, and a parking garage.
“I think once it’s done think it’s going to be fantastic,” said Diane Ayers, manager at Quarterdeck Restaurant. It’s located on Las Olas Blvd., about a block west from the beach.
But in the meantime, she said, it’s not the ideal business situation for the restaurant.
“It will probably affect our business a little bit during the summer, I mean, how could it not?” she said.
The Quarterdeck still has a parking lot and entry off of Seabreeze Blvd., which Ayers anticipates will help keep the tourists coming. But it’s people who live in town that she expects will find it more frustrating to get around.
“The locals are going to be more affected by it,” she said.
The traffic coming east toward the beach will get diverted South, on Seabreeze Blvd. And cars traveling North up A1A will be pushed West, through Poinsettia St.
The closed blocks of Las Olas Blvd. are expected to reopen on Oct. 28, just before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.