By Roseanne Tellez

(CBS) — Business is taking a huge hit and it’s hard for some to breathe.

People who live and work along one stretch of Milwaukee Avenue on the Northwest Side say the torn-up street has chased customers away.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports.

There is loud, heavy equipment and piles of gravel. It’s not an industrial site, but a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue lined with businesses and restaurants.

Customers are missing. There’s no place to park. And few are willing to brave the dusty, dirty walk.

To make matters worse store owners say some days there isn’t a worker in sight.

The city’s Water Department says underground, new pipes are being flushed and disinfected with chlorine for 24-hour periods.

The department says it “regrets any inconvenience to the residents of the neighborhood, however, the old water main was placed in service in 1890.”

Officials say the project will be complete in about three weeks.  The business owners who talked with CBS 2 say they’ll believe it when they see it.