Wilcox Tunnel repairs putting hole in area businesses - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wilcox Tunnel repairs putting hole in area businesses

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Cornelius Brydie cuts hair at VIP Cuts on Wilcox and Tunnel Boulevard. 

“People cannot easily get to the shop,” said Brydie.

He says the Wilcox Tunnel is like a blood vessel for haircuts. 

With the pipeline to his business closed, he's seeing fewer heads.

READ MORE | Wilcox Tunnel renovations to close tunnel 

“We’ve been getting like 30 to 50 clients per day, and now it's went down to like 20 to 30 per day,” said Brydie. 

Due to a $2 million facelift, cars haven't gone through this tunnel since August.

“They got started really late. And we were not able to make up that time, due to the aggressive schedule. We just weren't able to clear up all the contractual things to get them going,” said Blythe Bailey, Director, Chattanooga Department of Transportation. 

The tunnel was slated to be reopened at the end of February. But it's been pushed back until April 11.

Restoration to the tunnel has put a hole in the income at VIP cuts.

To make up for the revenue loss, the City of Chattanooga has come up with a construction mitigation program that will help businesses affected by the closure.

“So there will be assistance with signage. There will be a website that's established to give information about the businesses. We will cover the cost of advertising. Print, media, TV, radio, and there is a thousand dollar grant that we will offer to businesses that have been affected by the construction,” said James Mckissic, City of Chattanooga. 

It’s a plan Brydie says is needed.

“Things haven't been the same since the tunnel has been closed. Financially, business, growth wise,” said Brydie. 

The proposal still has to get thumbs up from the city council that could happen in a couple weeks. If approved, the plan will stay in place to help other businesses affected due to road projects. 

The city plans to give out $1,000 to each business that's eligible. 

The city says eligibility requirements still have to be worked out.

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