AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Transportation Department announced Sunday it will stop all of the construction projects downtown during the race -- music to the ears of business owners downtown.
As the countdown continues ahead of Austin's first Formula One race city leaders talked Sunday about how it will impact people in Austin.
Danny Bressler, a manager at Frank, a popular hotdog place downtown, says he wasn't too concerned when word of construction outside his restaurant first began.
"It started off slow and got progressively more intense," said Bressler. "It became a huge inconvenience. It's been horrible for parking. At one part it was kind of dangerous."
More than six months later, the construction is still going. It's forced his customers to jump through hurdles just to come inside. The restaurant's front door was even blocked off temporarily, meaning patrons could only enter through a back entrance.
"It just seems like the whole street is blocked off," said Josiah Shirley, an Austin resident. "I'm left thinking, 'Well, how do I get to this place?'"
And those are words no business owner ever wants to hear. Confused customers affected businesses so much, several had to shut down.
"It's been really rough, unfortunately, for this little stretch of restaurants here. Unfortunately, Maria Maria had to shut their doors," said Bressler.
In a press conference Sunday words of relief came from the Austin Transportation Department.
"Our city construction activities as well as some of our private activities downtown -- we are asking them to halt or slow down," said Robert Spillar, director of the Austin Department of Transportation.
The Public Works Department has issued a moratorium on construction permits and activities that affect downtown sidewalks and streets from Thursday, Nov. 14 through Monday, Nov. 19.
City contractors will also clean and restore appropriate pedestrian access for the large number of pedestrian visitors downtown.
With 300,000 visitors expected in Austin during F1 weekend, Bressler is bracing for chaos, but at least all those fresh customers will be able to walk right into his restaurant.
"It's going to be a real inconvenience," said Bressler. "But I think its going to be good for business we are definitely getting ready for it."
The first practice races at Circuit of The Americas are set for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m., with the qualifying race at 3 p.m., and the main race on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.
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