Endless, the construction site on Clemenceau has changed gear on the route of line 5 of the tramway in Montpellier

Endless, the construction site on Clemenceau has changed gear on the route of line 5 of the tramway in Montpellier

Les commerçants attendent fin 2024 avec impatience. Certains craignent de ne pas y arriver. Surtout avec cette grille… Midi Libre – JEAN MICHEL MART

In the tough after almost two years of work, the traders on the avenue hope that the project will end in December 2024, as they were told. But already, they have seen it accelerate.

"When I see the Métropole sign in front of my house: during the work, our businesses remain open, it makes me angry.&quot ;Jean-Luc is the owner of the unmissable Française des jeux boutique on Avenue Clermenceau. With the work on tram line 5,   started in June 2022, the axis is an open-air construction site. And for him currently, the financial situation is "catastrophic. I make 55% less on turnover". The moment is all the more complicated since, having purchased too recently, he cannot claim to be compensated. "But hey, when I bought it, I couldn't imagine that the work would be like that!"

The location of the protective grilles is of concern

"That", as Jean-Luc says, adding the gesture, there are construction machines constantly in front of his business, a floor of earth and gravel, construction machines of all kinds, which beep constantly, cars, vans, bikes, scooters…, trying to make their way through as best they can. And of course pedestrians zigzagging in the middle. The icing on the cake: the grids supposed to demarcate the construction site area. Except that these gates isolate traders placed on the even side of the street from the flow of pedestrians. They circulate wherever they want in Clemenceau but, paradoxically, prevent access to the shops. "There, there is a meter of sidewalk, explains Audrey, the tobacconist, while on the other side, there is no commerce and passage is free. The worst was when this passage had to be 50 centimeters wide! There was tension, people insulting each other and even scooters trying to pass over there. And then in this project, we don't understand everything. We had the impression that they were sometimes always digging at the same time. We dig, we stop, we dig again…It was endless."

"Come and see, I have two people this afternoon"

Endless, it still is for some of the professionals in the area. Like Samia, owner of the Honeymoon beauty institute, located in an adjacent street. "With the dust, the noise of the machines, sometimes, I can't work, I have to cancel appointments". Problem: not being on the direct route of the tram, there is a strong risk of not being compensated. An injustice for her linked to a lack of understanding, especially since her establishment has lost enormous value, impossible to resell."I'm stuck", she notes bitterly. A little further up, for the historic Turkish restaurant on the avenue, the Star kebab, Ercan is at his wit's end: "It's catastrophic, I I'm almost closing. Come and see, I have two people who stopped this afternoon. I'm waiting for help. I sent my request in December. I got a response on February 15! And they ask me for impossible pieces", he laments.

The turning point

However, not all of them experience the same difficulties, rely on a more local, solid clientele, or have been able to develop their structure. This is the case of the Italian fast-food restaurant Ori Panzerotti or the tobacconist, which, year after year, will be able to turn their backs. They saw a precise turning point in the construction site. On November 27, the traders signed a joint letter addressed to the mayor of Montpellier. They wanted to meet him. A letter that remained unanswered… until those in charge of La Cagette delivered it to him in person on the occasion of the New Year's greetings.

"Since then, things have been moving!"

Since then, if they haven't met him, they have seen him pass by. As well as his vice-president at the Métropole, Julie Frêche. "Since then, things have changed, underlines Nina, the boss of Ori  Panzerotti. We were told a deadline: the major work should be finished by December 2024. If that's it, OK. We are going to have another complicated year, with a lot of inconveniences, but we will see the end of it." Audrey, the tobacconist, is of the same opinion. "We have had complicated months, with endless work. I saw customers fall. One, in a hole, ended up with a bump. A grandpa fell on his knees…" However, she considers the future philosophically and expects a lot from the municipal word: in December it's over. Nina: "As long as I see the machines, that's fine with me, that means things are moving forward. It's when I don't see the machines that I worry." If this is not the case with Jean-Luc , Samia or Ercan, who are hoping for a helping hand, Nina is already imagining the future… and intends, in the long term, to be able to install a small terrace on this street which has now become pedestrian. "In return for everything we've been through, it would be normal". concluding: "Hope is what keeps us going right now."< /p> I subscribe to read more

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