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      Front Street businesses bracing for backups and delays

      One of the main stretches of road into Traverse City is going to be shut down for more than a month.

      Starting Monday, August 25, Elmer's crews will be working from the western city limits to Elmwood Avenue.

      People who work and live along West Front Street are preparing for the expected backups and delays.

      â??A lot of people live out west and are coming to work for Munson,â?? said John Rokos of Traverse City. â??They're going to have a heck of a time getting there.â??

      â??I think it will be a big problem with congestion down by M72 and M22,â?? said Jonathan Oltersdorf of Traverse City. â??I drive that way every day, my wife drives that way every day, and it's already bad. So I'm sure it will be difficult there.â??

      Business owners say the construction could be digging into their profits.

      â??This is a very busy road,â?? said Tom Gretzmacher, owner of West Side Beverage. â??Shutting off that lifeline is going to hurt people coming in and out of my business. Itâ??ll be just like a dead-end cul-de-sac for a month and a half.â??

      Crews will be reconstructing the underground utilities and completely redoing the road. Front Street will be closed to all traffic and detours will be posted. People heading in different directions means potentially fewer people stopping into shops.

      â??It's kind of an uncertainty,â?? said Jeff Pownall, owner of Slabtown Burger. â??We hope it won't be a ton but it could be possibly 50 percent. We have a lot of employees that need to work.â??

      â??I may have to cut down my hours of being open,â?? said Gretzmacher. â??That would be one last choice, but give it a couple weeks and see what happens.â??

      Businesses like West Side and Slabtown are frustrated the shutdown is happening before Labor Day, cutting into their busy season.

      â??That's a very busy weekend and profitable weekend for our business, as well as I think others on this street,â?? said Pownall.

      â??I don't know when they could pick a good time though. Timingâ??s going to be bad no matter what,â?? said Oltersdorf.

      In the end, the project is necessary to make Front Street safer for both motorists and pedestrians.

      â??It needs it. I mean you come through here and there are potholes bigger than the hood of your truck. I guess we'll have to live with it,â?? said Rokos.

      The closures take effect Monday morning. The roadwork is expected to go until October 13.

      City officials ask you to avoid the area to reduce delays and congestion.