Construction to turn Yellowhead Trail into a freeway starts next week, but most drivers won’t be impacted until next year.

Work this year will mainly come off the main corridor: On 124 Avenue, between 149 Street and 142 Street, and on 128 Avenue, between 156 Street and St. Albert Trail, there will be painting, paving and new sidewalks. On 125A Avenue, between 97 Street and 82 Street, there will also be road rehabilitation and a new sidewalk, but direct access to Yellowhead Trail from 89 Street will be removed.

“I think people will just choose to take maybe alternate routes rather than going to Yellowhead,” said Kris Lima, the project’s director. “They might take the parallel routes, which are a bit more convenient to access the businesses.”

Fearing that construction will impact business, Flaman Fitness is leaving the area, but Graham Dick, the owner of Cougar Paint and Collision, is rolling the dice.

“There's nothing to the whole plan that is of any benefit to our business at all,” Dick told CTV News. “Part of the reason why they're moving is because the access is going to be bad, and they have big trucks that come in and out.”

Construction will first hit the main corridor when the eastern section is widened from two to three lanes.

“The east part of the Yellowhead is impacted one year, and the west part is impacted another year,” Ward 3 Councillor Jon Dziadyk said. “I know that's going to be frustrating for some commuters that will just be impacted over a seven-year period, but it would be a lot worse if we did it all within one or two years.”

Concept planning for 121 and 127 Street, where the two new interchanges will be, will start in 2019.

The project is expected to be finished in 2026 or 2027.

With files from CTV Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson