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      Construction concerns near Bower Parkway

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Construction on a small but critical road in Columbia is about to have a major impact on a heavily traveled part of the Midlands.

      Dozens of business owners expressed concern Monday over a plan to revamp the heavily traveled Bower Parkway. The city of Columbia held a public meeting to get input on the project.

      "We don't want to put anybody out of business," said Council Member Sam Davis. The parkway is 1.5 miles long and provides access to businesses on the south side of Harbison Boulevard.

      Judy Divita owns Firehouse Subs in the region, and says most of the traffic to her business enters from Bower Parkway.

      "We're obviously concerned about the construction and the amount of time it's going to take and disruption to traffic flow...we are a small business and we need ease of entry and exit for our customers," she said.

      Daily 12,000 cars travel the parkway, and it's taken a beating over the years.

      "We want to mitigate any further damage to the road and we want people to travel safely," said Ray Borders Gray with the City of Columbia.

      Starting March 1, portions of Bower Parkway will be shut down in three phases to be rebuilt and repaved.

      Now that the project has the green light, Divita hopes it won't put the brakes on traffic to her store.

      "I think timing and efficiency and quickness of the project is going to be key to all of the business owners," she said.

      What do you think about the construction plans? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

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