The owner of Ģertrūde Street's floral shop Anda Balode told LTV that the number of customers had fallen because for two years there has been no access by car or public transport.
“Pedestrians can't walk down the street, either, because there are barriers. We're just visited by people who know we're here,” Anda said.
“You can see that we don't have any people in the cafe. I've been staring at this picture for two years, and I don't have the strength to comment anymore. For the last two years, we have had to live in a void and a state like that. Of course we need compensation every month, for every day,” said Anna Grīnfelde, a waitress in one of Ģertrūdes Street's cafes.
Because of these repairs, shopkeepers are close to despair because turnover has fallen by 50% or even 70%. Customers are hampered by barriers, and the enclosing tapes give the impression that they are closed. Several stores on Ģertrūdes Street have already been closed.
LTV turned to the Transport Department of Riga City Council, the director of which, Jānis Vaivods, said – on June 5, 2020, Ģertrūdes Street had its first collapse and the second on August 24. On December 23, 2020, the development of design documentation for the recovery of the surface on this street was launched.
“[Rīga water supply company] began work on Ģertrūdes Street on August 16, 2021, and finished on October 19.[..] It has been less than a year and the entire water system has already been replaced and the heating system is organized in this street, and there is ongoing surface recovery work, which is a relatively rapid pace for such a big change,” said Vaivods.
“There have also been delays. On March 3, there was the opening of the procurement for the reinstatement of the cover, and in this procurement the tenderers had not submitted an offer, so we delayed the process for a month. In addition, at the moment, unforeseeable cases are occurring, extending the deadline, but in general, this delay is not particularly high,” Vaivods said.
The agreement currently concluded requires the contractor to complete the work by October 30. Shop owners, however, say those jobs had to be done in a much shorter term. Although the Transport Department of Riga City Council promises – the agreement concluded with the building contractor provides that the construction work on Ģertrūdes Street is to be completed soon, the shopkeepers are not so optimistic, and if these works take longer, they are uncertain if they will be able to maintain their business.