JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - An artery going in and out of the Lowcountry is closed, but not in the way you might think it is.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation is working on SC 315. Because of detours around the construction, many think businesses in Levy are closed, but that’s not the case. Even GPS will take you out of their way, and their way of life depends highly on people driving by.
“This thing could be ending end of October, maybe sometime in November," said business owner, Rick Patel. "They don’t understand that even though these consultants that look at the maps and just try and plan something out without physically coming to the area - we do have a small area that has thriving businesses that you’re hurting.”
Business owners and drivers alike agree our Lowcountry roads are in bad shape.
“It’s nice to see the state doing something. Sometimes I feel like we’re a forgotten little corner over here, but they should have let us know," said Liz Schreiber, Palmetto Wholesale Cars.
Schreiber says it’s a lack of notification and the detour signage that has already hit her hard in the pocketbook.
“We’re on day three, and I’d say we’ve lost 80 percent of our drive-by business," she said.
Patel has worked hard to bring life to little Levy, and feels the state didn’t work to properly detour drivers. He feels they drove customers away.
“It’s because the signage that they put. They make it a sense that they’re shutting the whole road down all the way through, and in that process, it’s hurting us,” Patel said.
315 is only closed from Shad Road to Highway 17. That’s about two miles. The detour signs on Levy Road take you all the way around Levy to Freedom Parkway - away from the open businesses.
“It’s like a ghost town,” said Debbie Gibbens, One Stop Bakery.
Gibbens is the owner of a brand new bakery. She says sales are plunging.
“We see the difference in just three or four days. Could you imagine what 45 days will bring? I’ll be lucky if I can stay operational,” Gibbens said.
The timing of the closure was a double whammy right after Hurricane Dorian.
“A lot of our customers really got hurt by the hurricane, the evacuation," Schreiber said. "They couldn’t work that week, so we’re not getting any payments and we’re not getting any new business.”
Business owners hope SC DOT will listen to their concerns and make some changes to the detour.
The scheduled completion date is Oct. 13.