Businesses under financial strain while I-20 is shut down

Businesses under financial strain while I-20 is shut down

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This BP gas station is seeing at least 42 percent less business since I-20 was shut down. Source: WBRC video This BP gas station is seeing at least 42 percent less business since I-20 was shut down. Source: WBRC video
The eastbound lanes of I-20 will be shut down for roughly 2 more months. Then, ALDOT will shut down the same stretch in the westbound lanes. Source: WBRC The eastbound lanes of I-20 will be shut down for roughly 2 more months. Then, ALDOT will shut down the same stretch in the westbound lanes. Source: WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

ALDOT closed part of I-20 eastbound on the east side of Birmingham over a week ago for repaving. Some businesses along the stretch say they're feeling the pinch after losing customers.

One store manager says Thursday he saw an 82 percent drop in profits. Abdul Ladheni says not every morning has been that bad. But merchants do feel their problems are just beginning.

Ladheni told FOX6 News before the construction began that he knew the store would have a challenge paying bills in April. Thursday, he said simply that he's "hurting."

During rush hour there were few people at the pumps of his gas station and few people buying goods inside the store.

"We have one employee," Ladheni said. "We just put him part time instead of full time. We used to have two full time employees at night but we have to put him part time."

Since the shutdown, Ladheni says his overall sales have dropped an average of 42 percent.

The construction stretches from I-20/59 to I-459 and ALDOT expects the east and westbound lanes to be finished by Thanksgiving this year.

ALDOT managers said when the project started, they knew that doing it in sections was simply not an option.

"This is not one of the those jobs where we're milling off a couple of inches and putting back of couple of inches. This is heavy reconstruction and lends itself to this type of closure," Brian Davis said.

So what does Ladheni plan to do until November?

"Nothing. Until they fix it up faster, instead of 90 days let's making it 10," he said.

ALDOT has done everything they can do ensure the project moves quickly. They even have an incentive program. For every day the contractor finishes ahead of schedule, the state will pay them $30,000.

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