By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Highway 99 construction is not just a headache for drivers but also the businesses that surround the highway.

In 51 years, not much has changed at El Novillero with the three Davalos brothers still in the kitchen cooking all the meals. Now, construction concerns are cooking up doubts for Albert Davalos, a manager at the restaurant, on if their restaurant will be serving food to an empty room.

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“It’s something that has never happened before, except for a bad accident. Franklin is usually a main artery to bypass the freeway,” explained Davalos.

Located on Franklin Boulevard, the restaurant is now in the thick of construction detours. Davalos said they are thinking of closing their kitchen until the project ends.

“If we do close it is because it won’t be worth it to open, we would be losing money opening,” he said. “Bottom line, especially through the pandemic, it was so hard to stay open, we can’t incur any more losses,” said Davalos.

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Traffic signs warning drivers of the Highway 99 closures lined the street and are exactly what Chin Rhee hopes won’t detour his customers at Fashion City II.

“Traffic is going to be too busy, it’s already busy,” he said. “I don’t know how customers are going to be in and out.”

The owner of Rick’s Hacienda right off the highway fears the four-day closure could set the business back for much longer.

“We could lose about 80%, probably. That is a big loss,” he explained. “So, I’m concerned that the people that come to the restaurant are going to think about it twice because it’s going to be a mess on the street.”

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Embracing for potential construction chaos, store owners hope it won’t drive business away.

Velena Jones