Downtown Business Concerned About Sewer Line Work

Lynchburg, VA - A lot of popular stores and restaurants are impacted by some construction work on one street, and owners are doing whatever they can to keep customers coming through the door.

The new work going on is a combined sewer overflow project on Jefferson Street. It is going to take about five months to complete this section of work. This is not the first time this street has seen major construction, and businesses are preparing for how they will survive it.

The machines are getting in place, road signs are posted and concern is growing among business owners on Jefferson Street.

"Our biggest concern is that students are going to not want to come down to Jefferson Street and take class," said Gretchen Doherty, Co-owner of Bikram Yoga.

Even customers are cringing.

"I have a small threshold with my kids in the backseat things like that. I just appreciate the end result," said Christy Gonzalez, a Lynchburg resident.

That end result will be a better sewer system. Crews will dig up the street to place a sewer pipe 6 feet in diameter. The pipe will go down 16 feet all to prevent the sewer lines from overflowing.

"If we have too much rain water for the system to handle and that leaves the system it goes into river or Blackwater Creek then we're dumping sewage into Blackwater Creek," said James Thalian, water quality manager for the City of Lynchburg.

The city has created three new small parking lots to make up for the 40 spots construction took. But some worry it may not be enough.

"If you take a look at Fifth Street I don't think there are many businesses that are left there with the road closures there," said Jack Parker, owner of Bikes Unlimited.

Some businesses are trying everything to keep their cash flow coming in.

"I was concerned enough, that I opened up a second location that is not impacted by traffic out in Wyndhurst," said Parker.

Bikram Yoga will start to offer valet parking to their students on occasion.

"We're happy to do it. We love our students, we love being downtown, and we just want students to know we're open for business," said Doherty.

This work on Jefferson Street will cost more than $5 million. It is part of a much larger CSO project will take 21 months to complete.