Update on Lynchburg's downtown utility & streetscape program

(Photo: WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- For more than a year, it's been a pretty big mess on Main Street in downtown Lynchburg.

The block between 7th and 8th Street is closed and for the past year, it's been various blocks along Main Street and Commerce Street closing.

But one section should be done by mid-September, two weeks later than planned.

The work began in Spring 2016.

This phase of the downtown utility and streetscape program is replacing all water lines in eight blocks around the city.

"The average age of a downtown water line is over 100-years-old," said Jim Tlian, the chief engineer at the Department of Water Resources.

And while they're at it, they're taking care of everything, like replacing sewer lines, building new sidewalks, curbs, pedestrian crossings, and adding new landscaping.

"We like to get it all done at once so that when we leave people know we are gone and they won't see us for another couple decades hopefully," said Talian.

While they say the work is needed, it's taking a toll on business in town, but they are glad to see some changes.

"It's a hassle factor for guests checking in you know you always want smoothest check-in," said Tony Camm, the general manager of the Holiday Inn. "Like the sidewalk now in front of the hotel that wasn't there before, it looks great, so it's a necessary thing, you know you've got to break the eggs to make the omelettes, so we're looking forward to the omelettes."

And for some who live around town it doesn't bother them at all.

"Anything to renovate and re-vamp the downtown area is okay with me, and I look forward to seeing the new changes," said Thomas Skyes who lives in downtown Lynchburg.

City engineers said you don't have to wait much longer.

"Come back in about a month, it will be beautiful!" Talian said.

Even when this is done, though, it's not the end of revitalization downtown.

Over the next 10 years, more than 40 blocks will be restructured; which means construction isn't going away, it's just switching locations.

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