People living and doing business in Bridgeport, OH are fed up, claiming the State of Ohio made promises it has not kept concerning a construction project on area roads.
As if the closure of the Marion Street Bridge in both directions wasn’t enough to frustrate travelers and businesses, on Monday the state closed all on and off ramps except for the westbound I-70 off ramp– something they were told wouldn’t take place until July.
In January, a meeting was held to make the public aware of exactly what would take place during a $9 million replacement project. One of the items promised was that both lanes to and from Wheeling, WV would stay open and that they would make it known that Bridgeport, OH was open for business.
Some business owners say the traffic is actually helping their business, one business owner is upset about how the traffic is negatively impacting his store.
“Understanding that they need to do road construction and it’s necessary evil that we must put up with,” said Budget Interiors owner, Randy Dlesk. “I think the state also promised to promote Bridgeport and being the hub of the Ohio Valley we need to get the message out that Bridgeport is open for business.”
Other say the traffic back up is a huge problem.
“Now you got everybody blocking I-470 halfway up OH Rt. 7,” said Ed Moore of Moore’s Music Emporium. “I have to go home that way because I can’t get off the exits. You are backed up a half mile, so it’s a problem.”
We spoke with Becky Giauque with the Ohio Department of Transportation. She says the closure will actually speed up the construction process.
“Closing the bridge for the remainder of the work allows our contractor complete access to the structure, it eliminates the need to maintain traffic across it,” she said. “It opened opportunities to explore project acceleration that would not have been there if the bridge had to be maintained to traffic.”
The project is expected to last until November and drivers are asked to be patient and to use alternate routes.