Lane closures and jack hammers are making their way down Auburn Avenue and Edgewood Avenue.
The work is all part of the Streetcar Project, for which the city of Atlanta is spending nearly $10 million to tear up streets and move utilities in preparation for the trolley. Business owners, meanwhile, are holding on for the ride, Channel 2’s John Bachman said. It’s the first step to a trolley, including big, loud equipment ripping up roads in northeast Atlanta.
Currently, the commotion is on Auburn Avenue, where crews have to move 17 utility lines including sewer, gas and electrical lines.
"It's no big surprise," Silver Moon Barbershop owner John Harris said.
Like most of the business owners along Auburn and Edgewood, Harris said he knew it was coming. Everyone along the route, from the Centennial Park area to King Center will feel the lane closures and traffic issues, Bachman said.
"This is the progress of the city," Harris said.
Bachman observed crews tearing up Auburn Avenue, just west of Jessie Hill Drive. The nearby owner of Sweet Auburn Bread Company said she knows they're heading her way soon.
"Down the street, up the street, but not in front of my door yet," Sonja Jones said. She gets weekly updates on the utility work. She told Bachman she knows it’s going to worse before it gets better; she’s not just sure exactly when.
"For now, I don't know exactly or a timeframe when they will get to my door and that would help to know," Jones said.
"We can't predict what's in the ground. This is very old infrastructure. Construction teams want to make sure they get it right," said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanzaa Hall.
Hall said he is holding crews accountable, but sometimes, an unforeseen issue throws off the schedule. He said he is well aware of the short-term issues for businesses in the area.
"This is great thing for the city, but we have to work through the growing pain. We want to make sure some of our small businesses are not negatively impacted to the degree they have to go out of business," added Hall.
Jones, meanwhile, said she’ll survive now and thrive later.
"Short pain, big gain," Jones said.
Hall said the trolley will help open a growing market for Auburn and Edgewood businesses. Businesses can call the construction hotline with questions at 404-588-9800.
Channel 2's John Bachman contributed to this report.