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Drivers react to a new downtown traffic reality in Chattanooga

A view of the construction going on at MLK Blvd from our NewsChannel 9 SkyCam.

A small, but busy stretch of downtown Chattanooga is now closed, and will be for quite some time.

Here's how the closure of MLK Boulevard, from Market Street to Georgia Avenue, is impacting people who live and work in the area.

Monday morning's rush hour went off without a hitch, but it's going to be a long time before things get back to normal.

"Usually I go straight, but I had to take a right, a little detour, but it wasn't terrible," Britton Ware said.

Ware works on Warehouse Row. He says he was a little caught off guard when he got off the highway this morning.

"Once I got here I was like, oh I guess I better turn now," Ware said.

Here's the detour driving West on MLK Boulevard: You make a right turn on Georgia Avenue, then left on East 7th and follow the detour signs back to Market.

Tony Perri owns a business downtown, and says it's just a minor adjustment.

"I park in the EPB building behind you and walk by here everyday, a couple times a day," Perri said.

His concern with the project? How long it's going to take.

"It's gonna be great, I just can't believe it's gonna take a year to do," Perri said.

The stretch of MLK from Market to Georgia Avenue is expected to be closed for 3 months.

The Miller Park makeover, which will include an open lawn and pavilion, isn't expected to be done until summer of 2018.

"It's a mess, but if anybody knows anything about Chattanooga, and listens to NewsChannel 9, they ought to know which way to go," driver Viveca Yerby said.

Police officers were out Monday morning directing traffic, and so far so good. But once again, the stretch of road will be closed until at least February.

Once the city opens back up that stretch of MLK, they'll close Georgia Avenue to Patton Parkway. That part of the construction is expected to last an additional month.

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