Hamilton to motorists: Main Street business are open during road construction

Business remain open during construction on Main Street in Hamilton. Detours are in place during the construction process. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Business remain open during construction on Main Street in Hamilton. Detours are in place during the construction process. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Bill Herren, an owner of Main Street Vinyl, is looking forward to November when construction along his store’s namesake street is scheduled to be finished.

That’s because business is down about 35 percent since the transformation of Hamilton’s major east-west highway began.

Actually, things should improve in two or three weeks when work on water mains is finished, and traffic is allowed in both directions on Main Street.

“It’s about killing us,” said Herren, who owns the business — which has been open 13 months — with his sons. “I guess I can say we’re doing a little better than what I thought we would with all this going on. But it seems like every day it gets a little worse.”

The $3.2 million construction project along Main and B streets serves two primary purposes: Crews have been replacing 6- and 8-inch cast-iron water mains — which are about a century old — with 12-inch ductile iron mains. Also, the “streetscape” of sidewalks and street lamps is being significantly beautified in preparation for the conversion of the Main Street area into an entertainment district to support the proposed Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, a planned gigantic indoor sports complex.

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Also to be improved are the street lights, which not only will brighten the roadwaybut also the sidewalks in front of stores.

Hamilton’s city engineer, Rich Engle, said construction is going pretty well and is a bit ahead of schedule. Things should improve within the month when work on the water mains is finished. Before that happens, intersections will be closed so crews can link the new 12-inch water mains on Main Street with water pipes on cross streets.

After that, work on the sidewalks will happen. But more vehicles will be driving past the shops.

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City officials believe that in the long-run, the work will be worth it to businesses in the area, because after it is complete, the area will be more inviting to pedestrians, and more attractive to customers of shops and restaurants.

“Construction’s not the best thing that can happen, but from what I hear, they’re ahead of schedule,” said Brian LeVick, owner of Future Great Comics and president of the Main Street Area Association.

Herren said in his business’ 13 months, “we’ve done very well.”

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But some customers told him they purposely are staying away until they don’t have to fumble their way through streets and alleys to find him.

One woman, who picked up a special order with some trouble getting there, told him: “I’ll never be back here until this construction is done.”

LeVick encouraged people to visit shops during construction.

“There’s plenty of shop owners who would love to see customers they haven’t seen in a while,” LeVick said.

There is plenty of parking along Main Street, behind buildings and in public lots, he said.

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