Business owners feeling effect of Fraser sinkhole crisis

Posted at 12:49 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 12:56:44-05

As the sinkhole saga in Fraser continues to unfold, more and more people are feeling the pains of the ongoing crisis.

On Saturday, a sinkhole began to form leading to the City of Fraser’s decision to shutdown 15 Mile Road between Utica and Hayes. Several homes are being threatened by the growing sinkhole, but businesses that remain open are now feeling the effect of the traffic shift.

“Yesterday in 10 hours we had less than 10 cars,” said Dean Rahbi, the part-owner of Fast Track Quick Lube. “That’s unheard of.”

Rahbi has lived and worked in the area for years. He was working at the same oil change location when the 2004 sinkhole formed, and said he saw business dwindle but never as low as what he’s already seeing.

His business has a side entrance off of Utica Road, but he is worried that too few people realize it. He also believes that people are avoiding the area altogether because of the sinkhole and the construction around it.

The sudden decrease in business has Rahbi concerned. The accidental gas main break that occurred on Tuesday morning has him even more worried.

“I smelled gas really bad,” explained Rahbi. “Right now, I smell gas. I don’t know how long it’ll take or if they’ll evacuate us.”

While the gas line break didn’t cause any additional evacuations, it’s adding to the local concern to avoid the area.

Rahbi is concerned for his business, and what it means for his workers. Several other managers of local restaurants in the area declined to go on-camera, but echoed his concerns. One manager said she was concerned that her best workers would likely leave if the business continues to drop causing them to cut workers’ hours.

While it’s unknown exactly how long the road will remain shutdown, it’s been estimated that it could take several months.