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PHOENIX -- Construction began Thursday in downtown Mesa for the light rail extension project, and that has Valley Metro working to help the businesses along the line that may be affected.

Valley Metro spokeswoman Susan Tierney said construction in the area will last for the next 10 to 12 months along Main Street, which could have an effect on the foot traffic for some of the businesses along the line.

In an effort to alleviate some of the inconveniences the construction might have on the local businesses, Valley Metro has been providing some support.

"We have staff that are dedicated to working with the businesses," Tierney said. "They offer all kinds of business assistance (such as) marketing, some promotional strategies, some business locator signs."

She said they've even helped provide vouchers for breaks on some of the businesses' utilities.

After the construction is finished there will be a testing phase before the rail will begin public transportation, but Tierney said it will only be a matter of time until the businesses on Main Street have access to the 46,000 daily riders and more.

"We'll be adding 5,000 additional daily riders when the central Mesa begins operation," she said.

The line is expected to be open to the public in late 2015.

Mark Remillard,

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