East Nashville business owners hope customers brave I-24 work - WSMV Channel 4

East Nashville business owners hope customers brave I-24 work

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Weekend road closures on Interstate 24 are causing a lot more than just the usual headaches for drivers trying to get around town. Some people's very livelihood is in jeopardy.

Business owners in East Nashville have said they are noticing much fewer visitors than typical weekends, and if things don't change, the Tennessee Department of Transportation bridge work could devastate them.

The Green Wagon has become known as the go-to spot for environmentally friendly products, but for the past two weekends, business has been a bust.

"Last weekend, we did about 40 percent of what we usually do for a Saturday, and Saturdays are when we make a majority of our money. That's when we have a lot of foot traffic, a lot of tourists coming from other parts of the country," said Johnny Shields, with The Green Wagon.

The TDOT construction on I-24 has one of the main arteries into East Nashville closed every weekend. Though there are other ways to get to the east side, most people just give up.

"The thing is when people are coming they don't know ahead of time. They see this sign, and they're confused. And then they give up, and they turn around and go home or go somewhere else," Shields said.

TDOT has taken extra measures to get the word out to area drivers.

"We've created special maps that we have placed on our website and passed out at community meetings indicating different routes to still get to East Nashville. We've created weekly emails. We've even added extra signage, all in an effort to inform the city that East Nashville is still open," said TDOT spokeswoman Deanna Lambert.

With 11 more weekends of road closures scheduled, business owners are making a plea to their customers to make the extra effort.

"Educate yourself. Find out how to get to East Nashville. Come support these local businesses. We desperately need you," Shields said.

Regardless of which direction you are coming from, the best way to access the East Nashville business district is to cross the Shelby Street bridge. Detour signs are posted to guide drivers through downtown Nashville.

For more information, visit: http://www.wsmv.com/link/560403/interstate-24-detour-maps.

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