Broken Bridge is Breaking the Bank for Scranton Businesses

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SCRANTON -- Since a truck crash last month caused a major thoroughfare in downtown Scranton to close, some business owners say they've been cut off from customers.

They fear what the next year will bring while the Moosic Street Bridge is being replaced.

It's been more than a month since that now infamous truck crash that damaged the Moosic Street Bridge. The businesses on one side of the bridge say since then they've seen a significant drop in sales.

Two business owners who run two very different shops on Moosic Street in Scranton have been keeping an eye on their books this month and both noticed the same thing.

A 20% drop in sales since late October for both JB Jewelers and Cosmo's Cheesesteaks.

Cosmo's owner, Cosmo Salerno, says his business used to be on one of the most heavily travelled streets into downtown Scranton. But that's changed.

"People have a hard time getting back, they have a half hour for lunch and getting over here it's not that bad, but getting back to Scranton, that's what takes a while," Salerno said.

It's all because PennDOT officials made the call to close the Moosic Street Bridge after a truck too tall to fit under it damaged the bridge. Now, the thoroughfare into the city needs to be replaced.

It's been more than a month since the crash, and so far repairs haven't started on the bridge that connects Cosmo's and the other businesses to downtown. PennDOT officials said to replace the bride it's going to take about a year.

"I think it's more of a convenience thing, people don't like to go out of their way, especially when they're in a hurry. People don't want to take those few extra minute," said Joby Baldassari, owner of JB Jewelers.

Baldassari said he's taking the hit in customer traffic heading into his busiest time of year. But, he says the biggest problem is that it could be like this for a whole year.

Cosmo Salerno said the drop in sales has already caused him to make some cut backs.

"It already caused me to cut back on some hours and lay one person off. But who knows, I have do what I have to do," Salerno added.

Newswatch 16 contacted PennDOT officials for an update on the bridge replacement project but officials did not return our calls.