Business owners worried about ramp closures - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owners worried about ramp closures

Tifton- For three weeks now the northbound Interstate 75 on-ramp at US Highway 82 has been closed. It's forced thousands of motorists to take a detour, but they aren't the only ones frustrated with the alternate route.

"They're always working on 75 somewhere. It just seems like constant construction all the time," says Greg Cannon.

Teachers Chris King and Greg Cannon are used to fighting traffic and construction during their annual school trip to Orlando.

"They're very slow," says Cannon.

"We make this trip every year, and it's the same every year," says King.

They're from Atlanta where traffic is notoriously frustrating to navigate.

"Well at least in rush hour in Atlanta you've got eight lanes. You've got one lane here," Kings laughs.

When they get back on I-75 they won't be able to use the on-ramp. It's closed. They'll have to take this detour down Highway 319 to Omega Road and then head north.

"A lot of our guest do mention the road construction. They say man, we couldn't hardly find you, or it was inconvenient," says hotel owner Rick Williams.

Williams is glad to have a nearly a full house even with the on-going bridge construction project, but next week another ramp will be closed.

The southbound off-ramp will be closed next, forcing anyone who wants to stop at businesses on Highway 82 to pass it, and take the detour the other way.

But DOT District Engineer Joe Sheffield assured worried business owners that the contractor will more than likely finish his 28-day job ahead of schedule.

"If he does not get his work done one time for that particular phase he will be charged $10,000 per day," Sheffield explains.

"I tell you if I was a contractor it would definitely effect my work ethic on getting it done and getting it through," Williams says.

The business owners say they are optimistic that DOT projects won't put too much of a strain on their business. Transportation officials have even agreed to post logo signs along the detour route for business owners who want to let motorists know what they're approaching.

DOT officials say they are already 25% of schedule. They hope to have all of Tifton's Interstate 75 ramps open by mid-May.

Posted at 6:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com