As the construction project at the Exit 150 interchange with Interstate 81 continues, some businesses say the road work has caused a drop in customers.
The project first got started about two years ago and promises to improve safety and traffic flow in the area. According to officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the project is running on schedule.
“When the construction first began, it was a pretty significant impact on our business,” said Mike Preston, district manager for Country Cookin.
Crews had to relocate the entrance to the restaurant for a new access road, Preston said. The business has loyal customers, but construction has kept some people away, he added.
But engineers try to keep him updated, he said.
“They’ve been really good about letting us know what’s going on,” Preston said. “They’re really good about getting out of the way as quickly as they can when they’re doing things that actually impact us, so that’s been a pleasant surprise.”
For workers at Angelle’s Diner, the road work has not many caused problems.
“It really hasn’t had a negative effect,” said Michael Guess, one of the managers. “Actually, I think we’ve gotten more travel business because of it.”
Officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation hosted public meetings and met with business owners about the project, according to communications coordinator Jen Ward. They have also tried to help by putting up detour signs.
“We know it’s an inconvenience, and we want to be there for them so that their businesses continue to thrive,” Ward said.
Despite the temporary headaches, business managers agree the improvements could bring even more customers than ever before.
“Before they started this project, it was a virtual nightmare,” Preston said. “There were certain times of the day nobody wanted to come to this area. That had somewhat of an effect on our business that we should see go away as the project’s finished.”
The project is still set to be complete on-time next summer, Ward said.