‘That’s a killer’: Lincoln man says 48th Street construction will doom his business

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Some business owners say a road construction project on North 48th Street could cost them their livelihoods.

“It’ll be a huge loss when we’re forced out of business,” Chad Vanek said.

Vanek owns Blu Velvet Underground Bartique on 48th Street.

He said he just recently found out the road would be fully closed in front of his business.

Vanek said he depends on people driving by and seeing the clothes he sells.

“We’re at this location for a reason,” he said. “We went storefront 48th Street strictly for the cost and flow of traffic and to bring in customers.”

The Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Department is working on an $8.15 million street improvement project on 48th from Leighton Avenue to Superior Street.

It began in April and is scheduled to finish in December.

In early April, LTU held an open house where people could learn about the project.

At that open house, businesses were told that at least one lane of traffic would be open for the duration of the project.

Now the construction engineer says the plans have changed.

“I did say that, and wrongfully,” Marc Rosso said. “At the time, we were in the middle of the design, and I was hearing that we were going to keep it open in some way. In between then and when it actually was bid, the design section decided they were going to close that, so I was wrongfully informed.”

Right now, the street is partially closed from Leighton to Gladstone Street and fully closed from Adams Street to Cornhusker Highway.

The project is making necessary repairs to the roads and the water main.

Rosso said when they close the area around the businesses to traffic, they will try to minimize damage.

“It’s a big impact, closing the road, of course,” Rosso said. “We’ve got some signage out on either end of the project and in appropriate locations to let folks know they can go around on the residential streets.”

But Vanek said that won’t be enough for him.

“I mean, really, we need at least one lane open,” he said. “If it was going to be a month or two, fine. We would struggle and lose money for those months. But for eight months? That’s a killer.”

He said it’s something that other businesses in the area are concerned about as well.

There’s plenty of streets with construction, and there’s a lane open,” Vanek said. “So that’s all we’re asking. Just throw us a lifeline.”

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