City of Lynchburg planning for construction, road closures on 5th street for project


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- 5th Street in Lynchburg is about to go under construction in part three of the 5th Street Utility and Streetscape Project.

Part three will connect new pipes to downtown Lynchburg and the James River.

Work on this project started in 2009 and now businesses along the route are preparing to deal with the challenge.

"It's really going to inconvenience my clients who that are new who use their GPS to get here," said Tyeast Blanding, the owner of Nubian Citi All Natural Braiding/Beauty Salon. "I thought that they were going to just close down one lane."

Blanding's shop sits at the corner of Polk Street and 5th Street, so she has a front row seat for the new project's construction.

"I think that's going to discourage a lot of our fresh customers or walk-in customers from stopping in," said Rodney Hubbard, the owner of Rodney Hubbard Automotive.

The City of Lynchburg said it tried to just close one lane of 5th Street for the project, but bids came in at almost $2 million over budget for the proposal.

In order to get more competitive bids the city readvertised the project with alternative options. One was closing Fifth Street. A contractor took that bid fro $4 million.

The city said because this project has two parts, the utility and the streetscape, contractors didn't want to do both so that made it hard getting bids.

"This is the final three blocks to connect them. So we've like to get them connected so we don't have this infrastructure that we've already paid for in the ground not being used," said Jes Gearing, the Lynchburg Department of Water Resources spokesperson.

So, the city will only close one block at a time as they move up 5th Street starting at Jackson Street to Monroe Street, then up Park Avenue until Taylor Street.

If you're headed downtown, the detour takes you up Taylor to Park Avenue, down 8th street to Federal Street.

Part three of the project is slated to begin in March and there will be a public hearing on March 12 at 5th Street Baptist Church at 6 p.m. to go over road closures before construction starts.

For more information on the project, you can check out the city's website, here.

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