Business owner worried about prolonged bridge closure
CENTRAL - A business owner says his store is suffering because of a lengthy construction project.
Four businesses are located on Denham Road, to the west of Beaver Bayou in Central. The bridge over the bayou has been closed since July, causing residents and business owners to feel the strain. A snowball stand has a "for sale" sign posted near the entrance.
"It's cost me about $80,000 to $90,000 a month in sales," said Romero's Food Mart owner Joseph Romero.
Prior to the bridge construction, Romero says his business of six years was doing well. Since the bridge has been closed, he's seen less vehicle traffic and fewer visitors. While he has a second location that will help offset his costs, Romero says the situation is not one he can be in for much longer and he might have to face some business changes.
"I don't know how much longer I can keep doing that," he said.
The bridge, which is paid for by federal dollars, was expected to reopen earlier this month. A problem in a section of concrete set the completion date back.
"I feel like you're under the wire anyway as a small business and then with something like this it's no concern to them; they're not worried about our business," Romero said.
The span that failed inspection was removed and re-poured, and the contractor is waiting for that section to strengthen. In the meantime, crews are working on the bridge approaches, and once the span reaches strength, they will go back to the original plans. The contractor is looking to be done in February 2019, weather permitting.