Road widening project in Lexington causes concern for community, businesses

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- As work continues on the Business 85 bridge in Lexington, anticipation builds for yet another big project. This time, nearby on Winston Road.

“It is extremely inconvenient for our existing businesses,” Mayor Newell Clark said. “It's definitely going to mean something to our current businesses there and that's something that the community is kind of waiting to hear what's happening there. We all are hopeful that these businesses will continue to stay here.”

Clark says surveying has already started on Winston Road as the State Department of Transportation plans to widen it from Ninth Street to Biesecker Road to help handle the amount traffic here.

However, the plans come with concerns.

“It's coming through the front door. That's what they told me. It's coming through the front door,” said Bruce Hayes, owner of Hayes Jewelers Inc.

Hayes, whose business has been on Winston Road since 1939, says the NCDOT told him that the work will go right through his building.

“This has been kind of a surprise to me. They are giving me about 24 months to get ready,” he said.

“I’ve heard folks say to me that they're upset because we are shutting down existing, iconic businesses. No one is being forced to shut down. The state will have to come through in its normal process,” Clark said.

He tells FOX8 that work should start in about three years.

“It's kind of like, if I can't stay then it's a force out because I don't have any place to go as of right now because I don't know what to do. I don't have any maps. I don't have any concept of where they might put me,” Hayes said.

Clark says he has gotten questions about the Erlanger historic district space across the road. He says there's a tremendous amount of utilities there and it's very costly to remove them.