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Businesses Worry Closed I-95 Bridge Will Route Customers Elsewhere

Posted November 13, 2007
Updated November 14, 2007

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— It could be some time before a bridge over Interstate 95 in Johnston County will re-open. Some Smithfield business owners said they are worried that customers will choose to shop elsewhere, rather than take a 6-mile detour.

At about noon Monday, a tractor-trailer carrying a large piece of equipment clipped the Brogden Road bridge. The impact caused extensive damage to three steel bridge supports. State Department of Transportation officials said the bridge was safe enough to cross under, but not safe enough to cross over.

Debra Shipman used to travel across the bridge often and said there was no easy way to bypass it.

"I don't know. I have no idea how I am going to do that," Shipman said.

Brian Rabil works at nearby Boykin Motors. He said he did not see the accident that closed the bridge, but he felt it.

"It shook the ground. It hit it that hard," Rabil said.

Most of Rabil's customers cross the Brogden Road bridge to get to the car dealership. He said he worries they will choose not to take the detour and go somewhere else.

"It is going to be devastating if we don't get it fixed. It is going to hurt business a lot," Rabil said.

The tractor-trailer driver was charged in the accident. DOT workers said it could be weeks before the damaged bridge is repaired.

18 Comments

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  • bonnnie Nov 15, 2007

    Augh just GET OVER IT!!!! It will be fixed when its fixed.

  • Wheelerx5__Ready for Football Nov 14, 2007

    I can't believe people are complaining about the bridge being out. Who's going to lose business? That nasty little gas station right there at the projects? I wouldn't stop there anyway.
    You want to talk about inconvenience and detours then let's rehash the 35W bridge. If that traffic ain't a mess in Mpls I don't know what is. We made the stupid mistake while visiting there of going to the collapse site. What a nightmare to try and get any where around that city, as if it wasn't bad enough already.
    I think the little town of Smithfield can handle a barely used bridge being out. It's not like the truck hit the one at exit 95 and the outlet mall. Geesh. You don't hear Food Lion complaining and they're the ones getting truck deliveries every day.

  • 39 going on 25 Nov 14, 2007

    Get off the exit BEFORE 93 and take Highway 301 all the way to the outlets. Follow signs. 8>)

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Nov 14, 2007

    one problem is that the bridge height signs are posted but then NCDOT repaves the road. When the repave the road the sign is not often changed to reflect this. After a few repavings the road can be as much as 6-8 inches higher and that can make all the difference in the world.

  • Tarheel Army Mom Nov 14, 2007

    It is a small detour, yes. I think the ramifications are being exaggerated. I work in Smithfield and it is not that big of a deal. Not alot of business out that way anyway.

  • svaraj38758 Nov 14, 2007

    It certainly should be considered for the interstate overpasses for sure, because all to often these bridges are damaged from a collsion and become an inconvenience, are potentially dangerous and costly.

    I'm not really sure if or when this bridge was last struck. Usually its the Hwy. 70 Business crossover. Brodgen Road bridge leads out into the Brodgen community which is mostly rural.

  • dnguyen68 Nov 14, 2007

    svaraj38758 - It should be done for all bridges. Some bridges have height limit sign on them but by the time the driver sees the sign, it's too late.

  • svaraj38758 Nov 14, 2007

    Boykin Motors may want to concentrate their efforts to pull customers from communities south of their location in southern Johnston, Harnett and Sampson counties. Customers arriving from that direction will not be as adversely affected as those that must use the bridge.

  • svaraj38758 Nov 14, 2007

    Warning are okay if driver heed them. If not, flashing lights won't make a difference. What they should do is install a steel cross-over beam about 1/8 mile down from trouble bridges. Put it at the same height and if a truck with no clearance comes through, they'll smash that instead. That's a low tech approach. A higher tech approach would be a electronic means to kill the engine if a truck is deemed to tall to pass under a bridge. The truck would roll to a stop before hitting the bridge.

  • miketroll3572 Nov 14, 2007

    I can't believe all the people griping about a bridge being out. It has to be fixed, get over it. Its gotta be a slow news week for Wral to waste time on this one!

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