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Florence road project leaves businesses struggling

FLORENCE, Ala. – A road project is crippling east Florence business owners. What was supposed to take 80-days to complete is now moving into month number seven. What has caused the delay? To put it simply, rain and lots of it.

With the sun shining, an employee of Ray’s at the Bank prepares for the day. The restaurant, which has been located on Huntsville Road since October of 2016, has built quite the following. But, what’s going on out front is making it next to impossible to remain open.

“It has destroyed our lunch,” stated owner Katrina Hudson. “There is no parking; there is no way for people to get to us. And anyone that is on a time limit for lunch there is no way they can get in and out of here during that time.”

Construction of a round-about at Huntsville Road and Royal Avenue has put Ray’s behind the barriers.

“(How are you surviving at this point?) With our dinner, and that is barely,” Hudson explained.

The restaurant has hired a valet service to keep their customers from walking great distances at night. Hudson’s frustration is being felt by her neighbors as well as city hall.

“I’m so frustrated with it,” said Florence Mayor Steve Holt. “I go down there on really nice days and I keep looking to see if the contractors or sub-contractors are working. I’m as adamant about it as I can possibly be.”

The number of rain days used by the contractor so far, equals the same amount of time the project was to originally take.

Road closures have also slowed down renovation efforts on many of the buildings. Owners say if customers can’t get to them, what’s the point in opening up.

Mayor Holt says now that weather has changed for the better, workers can concentrate on wrapping this project up. The estimated completion date is now in June.

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