It’s approaching week six of construction along a portion of Seventh Street south in Lethbridge.
The multi-faceted project has included the upgrading of the 100-year-old water main line and the addition of a protected bike lane.
According to the City of Lethbridge, following the completion of paving between 3rd and 4th avenues, that portion of Seventh Street could reopen to vehicle traffic as early as next week.
For some businesses, that can’t come soon enough.
John Pyska, owner of Big John Books says the road closure has has some major impacts on his local business.
“Slowed down the walking traffic extremely, a lot of people have no choice but to walk and the parking has been so bad,” said Pyska. “I mean they took away 42 parking spots, so it’s been very difficult for a lot of people to come and anyone with limited mobility hasn’t been able to come.”
He estimates that his overall sales are down by 70 per cent since the start of construction but says some recent downtown events like the sixth street block party did ramp up a bit of foot traffic.
“A lot of our customers have made it a point to come and support us which we are very happy with and just shows us that people do really want us to be here,” explained Pyska.
To combat the lack of parking accessibility in the front of the stores, some businesses are offering their back alley for customer parking.
Jeremy Duchan, owner of Gentlemen 3 Menswear, indicated they’ve been working hard to keep it business as usual despite the construction.
“For the most part, we are a destination business so I think a lot of people will find their way to us regardless,” said Duchan.
“But it’s also been very important that we’ve motivated them to come in by making it as easy as possible, by using our back door and also in the month of August we launched our summer sales event which we would normally do later, so we launched a little bit earlier to give them another reason to come in through promotions and different sales incentives.”
Partial closures along Seventh Street all the way to Sixth Avenue are expected to remain in place until Oct. 31st.
Up-to-date information can be found on the City of Lethbridge website, or by calling 311.
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