Businesses bypassed by almost-complete Monroe Expressway

Businesses feel bypassed by expressway
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)
(Amanda Foster | WBTV)

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Q Osborne is usually slammed after a big weekend at his auto repair shop.

"People go out, people crash their cars so, Monday we get a lot of walk-ins, and Tuesday we'd be already working on everything we got in on Monday," he says.

But, no walk-ins here at Next Level Customs off Highway 74 in Indian Trail.

In fact, no business beyond what the team has drummed up themselves.

"It's real quiet right now," Osborne says.

That's what the team's been doing - using the internet and social media to bring in business. They say they have to, because of the Monroe Expressway project, just outside.

"We went from having about at least six to eight walk-ins a week, to now we literally have to find all of our own business," Osborne says.

Next Level Customs says they used to have a sign out along 74 that would bring in customers, but now the highway no longer connects to their shop. Workers say the sign disappeared when construction workers appeared.

"We got no warning," Osborne says. "Not only that, they don't pay you, just kind of take your sign."

The $800 million expressway is set to finish in November. It stretches across both Mecklenburg and Union Counties, extending from Highway 74 near I-485, to 74 between Wingate and Marshville.

Businesses like Next Level knew development was stretching their way.

"I didn't know it was going to come this far up," Osborne says.

Many others WBTV spoke to Tuesday are nervous about their fate. One had already moved because of the lack of business.

Next Level says for them, that decision now involves a waiting game.

"We don't know what it's going to be, a week from now, a month from now, six months from now," Osborne says.

North Carolina Department of Transportation released a statement Tuesday:

"We work closely with communities to lessen any construction-related impacts. With any project, we encourage residents or business owners to reach out to us directly so we can address any potential concerns as quickly as possible."

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.