Hwy 71 construction hurting small businesses nearby

Many small business owners - near the airport - say: construction on Highway71 is hurting them. The project started in 2015 and is expected to wrap up later this year, but, business owners say it can't happen soon enough.

It seems this toll road construction on Highway 71 is taking a toll on longtime small businesses nearby.

“I’ve got tax to pay, rent to pay,” Naree Hill, owner of Hill Liquor Store said.

But that is much more difficult for her business. She says before construction started, she would get nearly 100 customers buying from her liquor store. Now it's down to about six a day.

“It's very bad I can hardly make any money right now,” Hill said.

The problem is access. Those going eastbound from the downtown area, cannot just make a U-turn anymore like they used to. Construction has blocked those off. So drivers have to go miles down the road. It's simply an inconvenience.

“The entrances are different every day, so if they  pass it up they have to turn around and go all the way to I-30 which is five to seven miles down the road,” Gilda Flores, hairstylist at Del Valle Barber Shop, said.

It's the same song for the barber shop, gas station and even Metro PCS.

The project broke ground in February 2015 and is supposed to be done later this year. Officials say the 3.9 mile stretch of the new toll road should enhance safety and reduce congestion. It's a positive thing for the city, but the casualties of growth tend to be small business owners.

“I don’t know if I can be here any longer,” Hill said.

Hill has been in business for nine years. She and other owners are just hoping they can get back to business as usual.

“Hurry up and clean the mess up out there for my business, so my customers can get here,” she said.