Hwy 84 detour puts business through changes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hwy 84 detour puts business through changes

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

One of the busiest roads in Valdosta isn't so busy anymore, and it won't be for the next two years.

Drivers traveling on Hill Avenue are now dealing with lane closures and detours because of an overpass construction project. Some business owners wonder how they'll survive through the construction.

Tuesday marked the first day of a two year headache for businesses on Hill Avenue. The construction of the $9 million overpass has owners worried about foot traffic.

"We've got a lot at stake here. We have three businesses that are on Hill Avenue, we have Take Five, Heidi's Brooklyn Deli, Sister's Pizza, so we definitely need people to come out."

Misty Alderman says she hopes today's slow lunch is not an indication that people will avoid Hill Avenue businesses. "We're definitely worried about it and we've been talking to our customers, letting them know don't forget about us, you know we may not be here in two years."

Lane closures have already begun for eastbound drivers heading downtown. Shortly this road will only be open to people accessing homes and businesses on Hill Avenue.

Donnie Wisenbaker has owned this mechanic shop for 20 years on Hill Avenue and says he's scared he won't gain any new customers. "I have learned through the years that people are fickle and if something is easier to get to, that's the way they'll go."

Transportation officials say the overpass is needed to avoid traffic problems when trains pass through town. Hill Avenue business owners just have one message for drivers. "we won't be closed just because the road's closed."

Workers are setting up flashing message boards to give drivers a better understanding of where to go.

The detour begins in downtown Valdosta and takes drivers down Gil Harbin Boulevard and back up St. Augustine Road.

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