HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- It’s been a long year for many of the businesses on either side of Cecil Ashburn Drive since it closed. For most, business has been hurting, and the reopening of the road is highly anticipated.
"We're definitely excited for the road to open back up, we're expecting a lot more business, and we're definitely hoping everyone comes back out," said Steven Mink, a cook at Anaheim Chili.
Businesses say they’ve been able to tell business is slow for everyone just by looking at the empty parking lots.
“A lot less traffic flow, a lot of people that don’t go out of their way to come over here then have to hit up Hobbs Island or go up Governors Drive," Mink said.
Anaheim Chili is already preparing for more customers to head its way.
“We need to make sure we’ve got plenty of chili, especially with cooler weather and the colder season coming in, we gotta have plenty of chili…. and we’re going to be expecting a lot more tables full," he said.
The owner of Valley Chic boutique says the store has been lucky to maintain business due to loyal customers.
“It really says a lot about the customers that we have that they’ve been willing to make the extra trip to come and see us," said owner Leah Laird. “I can tell that the food industry, everything with food around us, has really taken a hit.”
The City of Huntsville said that the first two lanes of Cecil Ashburn Drive are on schedule to open earlier than expected. The original opening date was Halloween.
Phase II of the construction project will continue through the Spring of 2020 when all four lanes will open for traffic.