It is slow, tedious work tearing down the old Hillsborough Street bridge in downtown Raleigh. Workers are using a diamond-tipped cutting band to slowly hack off 70,000-pound chunks of concrete. They cannot rain debris down on the railroad tracks below, and they cannot use jackhammers because the furniture store nearby is a national historic landmark.
Store manager Jennifer Erickson said some people cannot find her store through all the barriers, and some do not want to climb around all the mess, and many others are not coming at all. She said the losses are adding up faster than the bridge is going up.
"Somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month in sales. I can't, for sure, attribute it solely to the bridge, some of it is the economy," she said. "Every customer who comes in says, 'Man, this must be hurting your business,' and they're right."
DOT officials said its contractors are moving as fast as they can. The project is not scheduled for completion until Aug. 1, 2003.
Some businesses claim the new bridge span will block some front doors, forcing the owners to change the way people enter their shops.