Businesses Worry Closed I-95 Bridge Will Route Customers Elsewhere
Posted November 13, 2007 11:22 p.m. EST
Updated November 14, 2007 10:24 a.m. EST
Smithfield, N.C. — 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.