HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Construction on South Memorial Parkway isn't just a headache for commuters. Local businesses -- especially small retailers -- are feeling the impact of the large construction project.
To combat this, city leaders, business representatives, and the Alabama Department of Transportation announced a new collaboration on Friday to help promote business while construction is going on.
Just last week, the traffic lights at Main Street South and Charlotte Drive came down - adding to the confusion of how to get in and out.
To help solve problems like this, the city’s Traffic and Engineering Department produced 11 new business signs, which ALDOT installed along its orange construction cones, to direct motorists where to safely turn into shopping areas.
"These access signs will help customers find access to their favorite businesses and let them know that shops restaurants and offices are still open during construction," City Council Member Jennie Robinson said.
It's hoped these "blue business access" signs will improve the businesses' odds of still being open once the construction is complete.
Once the work on South Parkway is done, you can expect to see the signs used during North Parkway construction.
Some business owners lament the way construction has affected their bottom lines. Cynthia Freese, owner of Ruth's Nutrition, said, "This store has been in business for 50 years, and we're quite surprised by what six months of road construction can do."
Freese wants to see the signs placed higher, and further back from the turns, so drivers can see them at a bigger distance and have more notice about where to go to get to business access areas.
Meanwhile, Angel Hussain of Angel's Island Coffee believes the signs should have been there months ago.
"People aren't sure we're all open," she said, noting that drivers get confused about the construction zones. "People aren't sure if this is a way they can go, if they're allowed to turn this way, so I'm glad they put those [signs] up. It's probably a much safer option."
Still, Freese and Hussain say it's too soon to tell whether the signs will actually drive more business their way.
Here are some more maps to help plan your South Parkway drive: