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Business owners losing money during 5th Street construction project

Construction on 5th Street in front of Nubian Citi salon. (WSET)
Construction on 5th Street in front of Nubian Citi salon. (WSET)
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Businesses on 5th Street in Lynchburg say something's gotta give.

Many claim they're losing customers due to the road closures and construction.

It's been 5 months since the 5th Street construction started.

The city recently added more signage forcing drivers to stay to one side of 5th Street, and the staff at Nubian Citi say with each road block, they lose more money.

RELATED | 5th Street detour causing dangerous driving in nearby neighborhoods

Tyeast Blanding has been styling hair at Nubian Citi for more than 20 years.

But in the last 5 months, she's watched her salon change.

"Tuesdays are usually my walk-in days," Blanding said. "I usually have people waiting outside to get in. Now maybe I have one... maybe. I'm lucky if I have one to two clients that come in."

She says the construction on 5th Street makes her business hard to access.

"Our clientele has literally dropped by almost half. And now it's been a bigger concern now that they've cut off the access to Monroe street," Blanding said.

Blanding says it's been so bad, she started a petition asking the city to open up more side roads.

"I hate to even think that a 14 month project would close 22 year old business," she said.

She already has 60 signatures.

"Unfortunately it's just one of those things where we have to support them as much as we can but we have to wait and see with the time," said Jes Gearing with Lynchburg Water Resources.

The project is slated to continue until Summer 2019.

The city says they're working as fast as they can but with cold weather approaching, work will unfortunately be slowing down.

"With concrete, there's a lot of temperature constraints that we have but we'll be doing the brick work, as much utility work as we can and then in Spring you'll see a lot more roads opening up," Gearing said.

As of now, the city is working to give drivers better access to businesses on 5th with reversed one ways and new detours.

In the meantime, they say they hope everyone will bear with them.

Blanding says she plans to go to the city next week in hopes that they'll be able to open up temporary access on Monroe Street and add a large sign letting drivers know they're still open.

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The city says they're also working with the funeral homes and restaurants on the block to make sure they're able to conduct business as normal.

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