HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The south end of Memorial Parkway will see big change next year. The city of Huntsville will be accepting bids on a project to build an overpass in early 2015. But people in the area worry about the construction and how it will impact their day to day lives. City officials say they plan to build the access roads and overpass simultaneously, in one phase to limit the burden. Still, the community fears it may be a devastating blow to business and transportation.
The overpass plan is for Byrd Spring Road and Lily Flagg Road. Local businesses fear their customers will not be able to get to them.
"I hope they're smart enough to make sure they don't limit the access to where poeple can still get in and enjoy coming here," said David Yohn, the owner of D&L Bistro. He says he is apprehensive about the upcoming project because it could easily devastate his business. Although the completion of the project should increase access and attract new business, motorists are also concerned about road congestion during the construction phase.
"Traffic will propbably be really bad everyday, especially with the last time they built an overpass it took forever," said Dairian Steinke, who says the last overpass project caused extra congestion in area, forcing her to leave earlier every day to get to work. The city is working with ALDOT to try to push much of the roadwork to night hours.
"So the peak commercial business activity, that 8-5 traffic that the front door business wants, is not impeded by a lot of construction activity, and when they're closed, the construction activity is open," said Shane Davis, the Urban Development Director for the city. Davis says the project is expected tot ake 24 months start-to-finish. The work is expected to commence summer 2015.
The threat of construction caused Victoria's Cafe to close at the south parkway location. The restaurant said that after 22 years, the upcoming project would negatively affect their business. The restaurant made the announcement Thursday.