Arena construction slows traffic in downtown Allentown

Posted: 8:00 PM EDT Apr 08, 2013   Updated: 10:58 AM EDT Apr 10, 2013

It may take a little patience to get where you need to go in downtown Allentown.

Road closures near the hockey arena construction site are causing traffic tie-ups.

Seventh Street is a parade of traveling music and honking horns as vehicles inch by a slew of bright orange detour cones and closure signs.

The closure is needed to accommodate arena construction and should only last for two weeks, city officials said.

One of Seventh Street's right lanes, between Linden and Hamilton streets, is closed. There's also intermittent closure of Seventh Street's middle lane for water line work. The closures will happen between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The backup hasn't been too bad, said Pete Lewnes, the manager of the Seventh Street Development Committee Main Street.

"It's two weeks. It's part of the process. It's going to be awesome," said Lewnes.

But some disagree..

"It's just like chaos down here," said driver Matthew Pettiway.

While some may not like the like the congestion, at least one business said it's good for business.

While parking is a little scarce, Maria Reyes, of Nueva Imagin Salon, said the congestion is bringing in new customers.

"People come to the salon. They was like, 'I was in the traffic, and I see the salon and I gotta do my hair,'" said Reyes. "They just come in."

The traffic diversion will last for the next two weeks.

Some drivers question if it's this congested during construction, what will it be like when the arena is finished and hockey fans start pouring in?

"It's going to be a lot more crowded trying to get through here. That's for sure," said one driver.

Allentown officials said there's a 28-page analysis prepared by people who study traffic for a living. According to that study, the existing roadway infrastructure can accommodate the new traffic generated by the proposed development.

View the Arena Traffic Study.