BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – A major sewer project along Western Reserve Road began last week, and already, one local business owner says they’re seeing a negative impact on their traffic.

“Business is down immensely because of what’s going on, and it’s very upsetting to us. We wish that they wouldn’t have done it during the holidays,” said Lisa Lorelli, one of the owners of Riser Tavern and Grill.

A regular customer at Riser said she has seen the number of customers decline as the project started.

“Usually, this place is packed from 11 ’til like 3 for the lunch, and then they start coming back about 5 for the dinner,” said Sondra Zents, of Boardman.

Work began Oct. 31 on the $18 million sewer project near the intersection with Hitchcock Road and extending all the way to the Five Points roundabout in Springfield Township. The entire project could take two or three years to complete, but engineers said they hoped that the first several sections between Hitchcock and Market Street will be finished before next spring when a major widening project on Western Reserve is set to begin.

Lorelli believes that her customers are confused with the road closures and different detours each day.

“Somedays, they can get here from Hitchcock. Some days, they can get here from Glenwood. We want to encourage our customers and Sparkle customers to make the effort to find which way they can get here because that will help us right now,” Lorelli said.

Those at the rock climbing gym, ASCEND, also located along Western Reserve, haven’t seen quite as big of a hit.

“We’re not seeing a huge impact. Thankfully, our big crowded hours are after construction is over when the road’s back open,” said Connor O’Kane.

While both have seen a drop in customers from the road closure, Lorelli wants better organization with the project.

“We wish if they do have to do this, they could somehow be a one-lane road where they have flaggers directing traffic on either end,” she said.

Lorelli said she contacted her insurance company to see if this could qualify as a business interruption due to the revenue she is losing. As for the county engineers’ office, Engineer Pat Ginnetti said that safety is a big priority for the project and that there are two police officers on site directing traffic.