5th Street in Lynchburg set to open to drivers this week

$4.5 million project fixed 100-year-old water lines, upgraded streetscape

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Fifth Street Grind's manager, Corey Carrion, sits in an empty coffee shop located at the corner of the Fifth Street roundabout in Lynchburg.

"I think, with its unique challenges and location to last two years is commendable," Carrion said.

Since April last year, the shop and other businesses nearby have felt the impacts of the Fifth Street Utility and Streetscape Project. Customers are rarely making their way down to the area.

"We've had certain days where we may have made less than $50 for an entire day. And that's very difficult to see," Carrion said.

But that will soon change. The city is expected to open Fifth Street to drivers this week.

"I think its very exciting that everything will be back open and I think a lot of people will be excited to come back down here," Carrion said.

"The day is here. We can finally get things reopened and get things back to normal," said Scott Parkins, Water Resource's project manager for the Fifth Street Project.

City leaders say the $4.5 million project fixed the city's over 100-year-old water lines, upgraded the streetscape and brought life back to a historical corridor in the Hill City. 

"The plan is to open them on Thursday and that's assuming that the stripping contractor gets here tomorrow and gets everything done in a day, which we think he can," Parkins said.

For the businesses, it's been a long 14 months. Carrion said, now is the time to prepare for the old and new faces the business owners will start seeing soon.

"For us, it's been about trying to figure out ways to prep up for when things are back up and running," Carrion said. "Maybe we'll see a few more faces than we expect, and that's a good problem to have."
City officials told 10 News the project won't be completely finished Thursday. Crews will still be out working on sidewalks and, as it gets closer to fall, they will begin planting trees. City officials said they want drivers to be mindful of crews in the area. 

To celebrate it's reopening, the restaurant Fifth and Federal is holding events with specials all weekend long. To find out what the events are, click here

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