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Construction concerns

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 4th, 2013

photo by Jon Stinnett The closure of Highway 99 near its intersection with Main Street began Monday morning after a delay. Businesses around the area have voiced concern over the project's effect on their day-to-day operations, though the manager of one construction company points out the positive impact his workers will have on the economy here.

By now, many drivers and pedestrians are likely familiar with the closure of Highway 99 near its intersection with Main Street in downtown Cottage Grove.

On Monday, Dan Latham with the Oregon Department of Transportation confirmed that the approximate one-month closure of that part of the intersection began at midnight Monday. Latham said workers will concentrate on the block of Highway 99 between Gibbs and Whiteaker streets for about 10 days, then switch to the intersection of Whiteaker and East Main.

“We’ll be working on some part of Highway 99 for the next month,” he said.

It’s a situation that worries many local business owners, particularly those whose customers may have to work harder to access their parking lots.

“I’m worried, and I know our customers have said that they’re concerned,” said Larry Wood, owner of the Little Caesar’s franchise just north and east of the Highway 99/Main Street intersection.

Wood said he’s opened up the back gate to allow customers to enter his lot from behind on Lane Street.

“They’re more likely to come in if they’ve got two options to get here,” he said.

Latham said that the current construction likely impacts Little Caesar’s and the neighboring Bohemian Tavern most heavily.

“People are a little unsure how to get around in that area,” he said. Latham said that access to Little Caesar’s is available via Whiteaker currently, though that may change.

“The access will likely change for businesses, but there will always be access available,” he said, adding that blue cones will denote access to businesses.

Latham stated that drivers who do not need to access businesses in the area may do best to use the pre-planned detour — local traffic can use East Main Street, River Road and Woodson Place to travel around the construction zone. Trucks are advised to drive the entire 2.3-mile length of River Road or use Woodson Place and the Cottage Grove Connector to reach Interstate 5.

Across Main Street, Sharon Scarpelli of Scarpelli’s Short Stop also worried last week about construction and its effect on business.

For the complete article see the 06-05-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-05-2013 paper.

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