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Business roadblock


GVF owner upset over gas line work



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For the owners of Global Village Fuel, the new gas line trench in West Street and related work is making customers “afraid to come in.” They say it has significantly cut into their business. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
October 27, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — To Rene and Pascale Rizk, the two-foot-wide trench in Route 131 and West Street might as well be a moat given how effective it is at keeping people out.

The only problem is that they want people there, and claim the gas line replacement project has had a major impact on their business, Global Village Fuel (GVF), for months now.

"We can't afford closing the gas station again," Pascale Rizk said. "We worked so hard to reopen it [after a gas spill] and they're closing it again."

Specifically, they're referring to the ongoing National Grid project to replace gas lines along Main, High, Sayles, Lovely, West and other streets. Since the work started this summer, the Main/West/Hamilton intersection has been tied up, with traffic narrowed into lanes defined by cones and directed by police officers. Off and on, construction vehicles, mounds of dirt or the trench itself have blocked all or part of the gas station's entrances during the workweek.

"Customers are afraid to come in," Rene Rizk said. "… The police do a great job, but they can't give cars wings to fly [over the barriers]."

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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