Local businesses experience pains of progress during railroad resurfacing project

HARTSELLE, Ala. -- A railroad crossing on Hwy 36 in downtown Hartselle is getting resurfaced this week, shutting the main thoroughfare through the city down in phases.

CSX will be resurfacing the railroad crossing on Alabama 36/Main Street between Railroad Street Northwest and Hammitt Street.

For some small businesses, this progress comes with some growing pains. Like the local travel agency, Adventure's Unlimited.

"I've been down here on Main Street for at least 44 years," said store owner Fred Smith.

And while his travel agency business is successful, a road closure like this one seriously limits customer traffic. Especially when the clientele are typically older in age.

"They want to drive right there in the front and do their business, get back in and go somewhere else," Smith said.

Even though the restricted access is supposed to last only for a couple of days, he's worried he could lose customers.

"When you've got Hickory Street closed, the railroad tracks are closed, those people are not gonna walk 10 blocks to us," he said.

Other businesses may rely on traffic, but they have faith that business will keep up with the traffic changes.

"We're definitely a destination location," explains Something Blue store manager TJ Holmes. "The majority of our business definitely comes down 65 through this city."

He said ALDOT did a great job preparing the area for the road closure, and with an updated website and word of mouth, he doesn't think customers will be taken by surprise.

For those who fear it may hurt business--this too, shall pass.

"Can`t be helped, but that's the way it is," Smith said.

The road will be shut down in phases, and construction is expected to be over by 8 a.m. Thursday.

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