LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg city leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate the completion of the Main Street Renewal Project.
After two years of construction, residents say it’s about time.
“I was just really like, ‘ugh.’ As far as parking, I would have to go out of my way. So, I’m glad it’s finished,” said Lynchburg resident Aasha Smith.
“So excited. It’s been a long time coming,” said Rodney Taylor.
Taylor owns Market at Main and says when construction started in Fall 2019, his restaurant took a hit.
“Four or five months before COVID-19 started, we were down about 25% from the previous year,” said Taylor.
The goal of the construction project was to replace a century-old utility system.
Along with the latest electric and water lines underground, there’s new streetscape, and the road is now open to two-way traffic.
The plan between the Hill City and Appalachian Power was pushed back several times.
“Appalachian Power would like to extend its thanks and apologies to those of you who have endured the project up close. The fences, the dust, the noise, the detours, the outages, the delays, and the uncertainties. These are all now in our past,” said Larry Jackson of Appalachian Power.
As we reported in 2018, city leaders said the project would cost about $16 million.
Project manager Jim Talian tells 10 News that construction was about $8 million, while Appalachian Power says they spent an additional $17 million; bringing the final price tag to an estimated $25 million.
Between construction and COVID-19, some retailers closed their doors for good.
Taylor says now business should pick back up.
“Main Street and Downtown Lynchburg’s brightest days are ahead,” said Taylor.