Business returns to hotel industry hit by Sunshine Bridge closure
GONZALES - It's been two days since the Sunshine Bridge partially reopened, somewhat easing the traffic nightmare. But it's not just drivers who are happy. Hotel managers in Ascension Parish are also relieved. The closure has cost thousands of dollars in revenue.
“We lost just at this hotel in the last 30 days $40,000 to $45,000 directly,” said Joe Petersen, the general manager at Springhill Suites.
The majority of Petersen’s customers are plant workers. Instead of sitting in an extra hour of traffic traveling alternate routes to get to Gonzales when the bridge closed, many stayed elsewhere in Donaldsonville or LaPlace.
“We're excited to have the bridge open and get some of [those customers] back,” said Petersen.
So far, he says, that’s what's happening.
“This week we anticipated to being medium, to slow in business, but we actually picked up dramatically. Now that the bridge is open some of the business that stayed over there shifted back over here,” said Petersen.
The increase in foot traffic is coming at the perfect time, putting workers in the holiday spirit.
“Christmas came early, Santa delivered,” said Petersen.
DOTD officials are expecting the bridge to fully open next month.