HERNANDO, MS -- If you're driving to Hernando in the next few weeks, watch out for detours. Summer construction is about to take over part of downtown as the city gets ready to build a new cooling plant near the jail and town square.
The project will take care of air conditioning troubles in government buildings, and it may inconvenience drivers going through downtown for a few weeks.
"It's a square and it's hard, because it's only a one-way thing and people usually don't know that," says Brenin Thomas, who works at a restaurant in the heart of Hernando. "People will have to go round and round and round it."
The city will cut trenches on Losher and Kathy Streets, digging up the roads and diverting traffic through the square.
"It'll take a little toll on our business just throughout the weekend," says Jacob Walley, who also works at a downtown restaurant. "Weekends are usually really good."
"I'm going to have to get up earlier to get to work," adds Thomas.
Locals believe the construction will frustrate visitors, but they hope it won't stop them from coming by their stores altogether.
"I trust the customers will still come and we'll just have our normal business," says Walley. "It just may take a little more effort getting here."
"I believe that people will keep going to where they need to go to," says downtown employee Donnah Turner, "because they love this place. You know, Hernando is great. The food's good. The people are great and they'll get to where they need to get to."
Turner already walks everywhere on the square, instead of driving. She says once construction starts, more people will follow her lead.
"They sure will," she laughs, "they'll park and walk."
"There are roads and backroads," Walley tells abc24.com. "So, we can always take a different route, I guess."
City leaders are putting together a construction schedule right now. They're trying to make it easy on local businesses by scheduling construction for nights and weekends. Work will take a few months on the plant and several days on the trenches.
The cooling plant is a $6 million project. It's going to make all of the county buildings more energy efficient.