Downtown Tunnel closures worry business owners

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by Eric Kane, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 11 at 8:41 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- "Our reservations are down. There's just not going to be a heavy emphasis on people coming to Portsmouth," said Charles Greenhood Sunday.

The owner of Brutti's Restaurant is concerned what nearly 9 months of work at the Downtown Tunnel will mean for his business and others' in Olde Towne.

"Today being brunch, which is our busiest day of the week, we were off about 25 percent in our numbers," Greenhood told 13News Now.

Friday, Elizabeth River Crossings shutdown the westbound tube of the tunnel for the weekend. Closures will take place each weekend (with a few exceptions) through May, 2014 so that rehabilitation of the tunnel can take place.

Greenhood said he noticed a major effect on business Saturday night during a private party his restaurant hosted.

"The function was expected to have about 400 people, and about 120, 125 people showed up," Greenhood explained. "A lot of people said they couldn't get here. They didn't know how to get here. They didn't fight with traffic."

Ultimately, Greenhood hopes drivers will not be discouraged by the inconvenience and will get used to using alternate routes to reach Olde Towne.

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