UPDATE: The closure of a section of Woodmont Avenue was postponed until about 9 p.m. Friday.
A section of a busy avenue in Bethesda, Md., will be closed for about 20 months due to nearby development.
Beginning Tuesday, Woodmont Avenue will be closed to traffic between Bethesda and Miller avenues as crews dig underneath a section of Woodmont.
“It’s a major thoroughfare for people coming down Woodmont to Wisconsin who then turn on Bradley,” resident John Bickerman said.
Closing Woodmont could lighten the load on Leland Street, which has become a commuter shortcut, but it's a mixed blessing for residents.
“Harder to come in Leland and we will have to make all kinds of detours to go where we want to go,” Leland Street homeowner Haya Goldstein said.
The lack of parking along Bethesda Row has hurt some businesses.
“This year, since that parking lot, that municipal lot's been closed, my business is down a third to 50 percent,” Shave Ice cart operator Scott Styer said.
When lots closed in April, more than 300 parking spaces were lost for construction to begin on mixed-use development, retail and residential units as well as floors of underground parking for about 900 vehicles, which, when completed, will more than triple available parking.
“We could certainly use a lot more parking spaces in the Bethesda area,” resident Don Thorne said. “I live in this area, and it does get congested.”
Jeweler Amy Hugo, who owns Amethyst, said that in the long run the development could benefit the whole area.
“I welcome the new shops and the new residents who will benefit from this,” she said. “It's just going to be a tough 20 months to get there.”
It will get tougher Tuesday when traffic is diverted from Woodmont onto already busy Bethesda Avenue.