Downtown Blair has plenty to offer the community and its visitors — shops, restaurants and other businesses.

But one walk along the five-block stretch of Washington Street and one can see the downsides: the noise — and sometimes smells — of semi-truck traffic that travels through on a daily basis.

It's nearly impossible for two people to have a conversation while walking down the sidewalks as it's difficult to hear. Parking along Washington Street can be down right dangerous as semi-trucks pass, some even unknowingly hitting those vehicles.

But now nearly two decades after talk of a south bypass began, the start of construction on the project is on the horizon. Plans are moving forward and will begin with a critical first step.

On Thursday, the City of Blair will hold a public hearing on the proposed south bypass. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m., with several information stations set up for residents to learn more about the project and ask questions one-on-one.

A formal presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. Officials will present the Draft Environmental Assessment and residents will be allowed to make comments and ask questions.

The purpose of the meeting is to receive feedback from the public — whether residents are for or against the project.

The south bypass is a project that has been in the planning stages for so long that many residents wondered if it would ever come to fruition. Now is the time to let your voice be heard. This is the one opportunity to have formal input on the project, and it's an opporunity that shouldn't be missed.

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