By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
Detours in downtown Tazewell are scheduled to end Friday when the town reopens a street that was closed after a major New Year’s Eve fire.
The eastbound lane of West Main Street was closed Dec. 31, 2013 after a blaze severely damaged a building that housed GuRu’s Then & Now Thrift Store, Belcher’s Jewel Box & Diamond, a law office and three apartments.
Town Manager Todd Day said the eastbound lane is next to the building. Motorists have been taking detours near the town hall.
“What it made people do is go by town hall here on Pine Street and come back up the alley to go around Main Street,” Day said. “There is heavy traffic on that road. It’s manageable, but it’s a big inconvenience for everybody.”
Residents have been asking for the lane to be reopened.
“We’ve been inundated with calls about the street,” Day said Tuesday. “We’re going to open the street back up by 10 a.m. Friday, maybe before, but at least by then.”
The fire damaged the building’s steel beams and cracked its brick walls, so it has been blocked off as a precaution. The town has examined the situation for two months and did “due diligence” to address it, he stated.
“That was our concern all along,” Day said. “That is still a concern to some degree, but they (contractors) are boarding it up and taking other precautions.”
An investigation into the fire’s cause is still underway. It is being conducted by the Virginia State Fire Marshal and the Virginia State Police, he said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org