Business owners worry about new US 31 route

The new US31 between South Bend and Plymouth opened, but workers and business owners along the old US31 say they are going to lose money.

The new route starts in South Bend and bypasses the towns of Lakeville and La Paz on the way to Plymouth.

“It passes those little towns that you have to slow down in. It’s just nice to be able to pick up a little speed and be able to move around a little bit,” driver John Bourbonnais said.

He was in high spirits when he exited the new US 31.

He’s from Atlanta, Georgia but travels on 31 to bring his children to school a couple of times a year.

“It’s just nice to have it,” Bourbonnais said.

That feeling was not a mutual one.

“I like what we had. I really do,” Amanda Ousnamer, a fast food worker in La Paz, said.

She said this change is going to affect all the businesses in the area and that hits home.

“It’s my livelihood. It’s my friend’s livelihood that is at stake right now.”

The owners of the Phillips 66 on the old US 31 said the change is going to affect them.

“They spent millions and if it impact us. That’s another revenue being lost. Not just the millions that the state of Indiana lost. For fifteen minutes,” Gurinder Kaur said.

The difference of fifteen minutes may cause more harm than good.

“Arby’s employs about twenty people. There’s Mcdonald’s and Burger King that employs about the same. So that’s at least sixty people losing their jobs,” Kaur said.

Kaur said they just hope their regulars will continue to stop by and give them business, even those who just come into town for Notre Dame games.

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