MURRAY — With work underway on the expansion of U.S. 641 South, there have been some impacts to local businesses while that work is completed.
Work on the expansion has been underway on the south side of Murray for months, as crews work to update or replace utilities for the expanded corridor. Business owners that spoke with the Ledger & Times said there have been some inconveniences as a result of the construction, but they were also optimistic about the potential for new business once construction has been completed.
“As a small business owner, we have been directly impacted by the construction on the 641 widening project; it has certainly been an eventful summer,” said Steven Reed, owner of Reed Interiors, in an email. “The constant coming and going of construction equipment, digging, more digging has been a little challenging. However, I think everyone is doing and has done what could be done to make the entire project go as quickly and smoothly as possible. It seems like it’s taking forever, but in the grand scheme of things, they have completed a lot of the prep work (underground utilities, sewer, water and such) in a relatively short period of time.”
Reed said that for his business, one of the biggest challenges has been people assuming the shopping center that houses his business may be inaccessible.
“I think the biggest challenge has been customers driving by and thinking that they cannot access the parking lot for all of the businesses located in this shopping center, and that simply has not been the case,” Reed said. “ At no point have we or any of the other businesses had to close for any reason.”
Reed said that work for the season seemed to be wrapping up, and he is excited for the completion of the project.
“Work at this point is wrapping up for the season, and we are looking forward to the actual road widening beginning in the spring,” he said. “It’s gonna be really awesome when it’s done.”
Andy Foley, general manager of Toyota of Murray, said the construction has not been without its inconveniences. Most of those stemmed from changes being made to utilities around the business, as well as the need for the dealership to clean their cars more frequently as a result of dust from construction efforts.
“It hasn’t created a big disruption to business,” Foley said. “It has been an inconvenience more than anything, but not a great inconvenience. We have to wash our cars more often since they are stirring up a lot of dust. We have had to flush our lines multiple times after they have cut lines that were coming into the building.”
While the construction has had its challenges, Foley said the benefits from the project’s completion would outweigh the inconveniences.
“We are excited about the future and the opportunity that it will provide,” he said. “The gateway from us to Paris, once it is complete, will be a huge benefit. I think Murray will benefit more than Paris will benefit. I think more people will come to Kentucky to shop and do business here. So long term, it is good for us, there are just some growing pains while it is happening.
“Right now, it seems the north side of town is the growing side of town, but I think we will see some business move back in this area again. I think we will see more growth at this end of the town once the project is complete.”
The owner of Trends N Treasures Merchants Mall, which is located in the same area, declined to comment.