Main Street project hindering some Gloucester businesses

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jun 22, 2011 - 04:30 PM

Photo: The fifth phase of the Main Street Enhancement Project in Gloucester is underway and has necessitated a change in traffic pattern that some merchants say is hurting their businesses. The work, which is expected to be completed late this year, will include new sidewalks, crosswalks and utility line work. David Reese, site foreman for contractor Harbor Dredge & Dock of Richmond, tears up sidewalk near court circle Tuesday. Photos by Bill Nachman.

The fifth phase of the Main Street Enhancement Project in Gloucester is underway and has necessitated a change in traffic pattern that some merchants say is hurting their businesses. The work, which is expected to be completed late this year, will include new sidewalks, crosswalks and utility line work. David Reese, site foreman for contractor Harbor Dredge & Dock of Richmond, tears up sidewalk near court circle Tuesday. Photos by Bill Nachman.

Photo:
A new temporary traffic pattern—and signs erected in conjunction with it near Gloucester Court House—are hindering some local businesses, a check of Main Street merchants Tuesday indicated.

The new traffic plan is necessary so that the fifth phase of the Main Street Enhancement Project can be completed, which will include a number of sidewalk and utility improvements from the court circle to Justice Drive.

The temporary traffic pattern has northbound traffic (toward Riverside Walter Reed Hospital) traveling around court circle to the left, using the lane where southbound cars and trucks would travel. Meanwhile, southbound traffic heading into the village must follow a detour of several blocks to get from Cary Street to Martin Street near the Morgan Building.

"It’s definitely hurting business," said Karen Arey, who owns Wisteria Lane Antiques & Collectibles. She said that fewer customers have been stopping in since the detour was set up the middle of last week—and many of those who found their way into the shop were complaining about the new access.

Arey said part of the problem is that vehicles traveling on Route 17 Bypass see signs about the Main Street closure and think it affects all vehicles. The signs actually state that truck traffic is not allowed on Main Street traveling through the construction zone.

"I’ve seen a drop in business," said Robin Field, owner of Field’s Quilting & Craft Supplies, LLC.