Renovations to Fresno Tower District's roads, sidewalks begins Wednesday

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Be prepared to experience a little extra traffic and noise when driving down Olive Avenue in the Tower District for the next two months.

"It's not great, I mean I can barely hear you right now," says Maria Torralva, Owner of Aroma Restaurant. "It's a good thing that it's happening, but I just kind of wish that it happened earlier in the COVID season."

"It would have been nice if this would have happened during the time when we were only open for to-go orders," says Irene Saul, Owner of Irene's Restaurant. "But we are excited about having it done also so like I say, it's bittersweet."

As part of the project, Olive Avenue will be getting a massive makeover.

The roadway will get fresh asphalt, sidewalks will become more accessible to people with disabilities, medians will be rebuilt, and landscaping will be added.

The beautification will also include the installation of mosaic trash cans, upgraded LED lighting, and even new high visibility crosswalks with some artistic flair.

Businesses along Olive say they're excited the changes are coming.

They hope the improved streetscape will bring in more business but they worry construction will slow down business in the meantime.

"This is well-needed here - we haven't had anything big done like this in a long time, so this is going to be great for our area," Saul said.

"This is our season, especially for our sister restaurant, El Patio," Torralva said. "This is the season where people want to come out, especially before it gets too hot. It's like the perfect season to have the outside brunch time. Hopefully, it wont impact it too much, but we are hoping for the best."

Drivers should be prepared for the drive down Olive to take a little longer too.

Phase one of construction starts now and runs through June 11. Eastbound lanes will be closed and traffic will be detoured at Palm.

Phase two will start June 11 and end July 22. Eastbound will be open back up and westbound traffic will be detoured at Wishon to Van Ness.

Councilmember Esmeralda Soria says she's excited to get these improvements started.

"I think it's going to help the local economy," she said. "People want to be where things have been renovated. It's like going to a new business. You like to go see what is going on there - we are hoping that this will add to that."

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