CHICAGO (CBS) -- Construction equipment can be seen along Devon Avenue, but there have been no signs of construction workers for three weeks.
When workers found one unexpected underground cable, the pace of the project slowed to a crawl, as did traffic and much of the business in the area.
CBS 2's Chelsea Irving reports in the 20 years of working at a consignment shop on Devon, Linda Ewen says she has never seen it so quiet.
"We're offering huge sales to compensate for what's going on, but you know I want to stay open," Ewen said.
Outside the store, drivers are struggling to get through the Devon corridor, jammed up by a huge city construction project to replace 100-year-old sewer lines; but nobody is working.
"They were told to stop, instantly stop what you were doing. Don't move a muscle," said Alderman Anthony Napolitano, saying construction stopped three weeks ago when workers digging 30-feet below Metra tracks came across a fiber optic cable that never showed up on any advance work.
The company that owns the cable needs to figure out a solution.
"Oh my God! This is just, I think, the biggest worry," stated Eva Ryan, the owner of a newly opened pet supply store.
It may be weeks before work resumes on the project.
In the meantime, owners of small businesses say they are holding on by their fingernails.
"It's going to impact our business so bad that we are worried we aren't going to make it," Ryan said.
The construction company says they have been doing what they can on other parts of the project to keep things moving and will be working on some additional parking lanes to allow for parking at hurting businesses. The entire project is expected to be completed in November.
In the meantime, aldermen and businesses are working to arrange a street festival to bring people in to Devon corridor to help businesses. They are also working on a direct mail flyer with incentives at shops and an "SOS: save our shops" plea.
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