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City officials expect traffic problems as street car constructions moves into heart of downtown

CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- On a ripped up stretch of Walnut Street, streetcar project executive John Deatrick had good news and bad news for reporters Thursday, August 21st, 2014.

He started with the good, "This work is actually very positive. We're creating the New Cincinnati."

He followed up with the bad. "People need information in order not to get stuck in places where they don't want to be and we're trying as hard as we can. We've got extra cops out helping to direct traffic."

For the next year, crews will be laying streetcar track through the heart of Cincinnati's central business district. Two blocks at a time will be closed for up to three weeks as the track works its way down Walnut to 2nd street, over to Main and back north to tie in with track already laid in Over-the-Rhine.

Over the weekend a concrete pour will close Court Street from Vine to Walnut. That means no traffic or parking in front of a strip of businesses.  Avril-Bleh Meats does about 70% of its business on Saturdays.

"It's very discouraging," Matt Bleh told Local 12 during a break from smoking sausage.  "I understand that building something this big takes sacrifices but, you know, when it kind of puts a damper on the business it's very frustrating."

To help businesses, streetcar supporters have launched "Shop the Line" campaign to promote stores on the streetcar line. They are meeting Saturday morning at Washington Park to organize and reach out to the businesses.

The city is encouraging drivers to visit to get updates on detours, delays and potential dead ends.

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