Road Construction Takes A Toll On Businesses

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Road construction in eastern Kentucky is taking a toll on several businesses.

A project that includes adding a turning lane on Combs Road in Perry County began in May.

Business owners anticipate more traffic Tuesday as school starts, but they say the heavier traffic flow will actually hurt their sales further.

The back-to-school shopping season is usually one of the busiest for Sportsworld owner David Napier.

This year he's about 72-thousand dollars short.

“They're not going to wait 30 minutes in line just to buy a pair of tennis shoes when they can go to some competitor or some place else and get them quicker. Everybody's in a rush!” David Napier said.

Drivers are avoiding the site of a $1.5 million dollar project to construct a two-way center turning lane and new storm pipes, curbs, and gutters. It's forced one family business to close.

“We were supposed to have an entrance and an exit at all times, but down at the fruit market we ain't had nothing down there. We just told them we were just gonna close up so they can hurry and get it done,” Kenny Smith said.

Kentucky Highway Department officials say the project is running on schedule, and they're asking for patience.

“The motorists in the area, plus the businesses who will have easier access to their business after the turn lane is complete, we think they'll find it to be a benefit,” H.B. Elkins said.

Some business owners have doubts.

“Once you start losing business people start trading somewhere else, you know, some people stay there,” Smith said.

Napier says heavy school traffic puts drivers more behind schedule and even less likely to visit his store.

“It's a mess when school starts without construction. Now school's gonna start with construction, it's gonna be a cluster I'll tell ya,” Napier said.

Highway department officials say the project should be finished by mid-September.

They also say in the future they'll consider scheduling work for nights and weekends to avoid business hours.

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