Businesses Suffering During Bridge Project

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OLD FORGE -- Some businesses in one part of Lackawanna County are struggling to stay open and they say it's because of a long detour around a bridge that is closed.

It's starting to feel and look like fall here in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania and at Bloomin' Idiots Floral & Garden Center in Old Forge, you'll find a lot of fall items.

The problem is, they're having trouble getting people there to buy things because the bridge connecting Old Forge to Moosic is closed.

"We're probably right around 60 percent loss right now. This is a big season for us and it isn't happening," Jackie Bower of Bloomin' Idiots said.

It's a frustration business partner Jackie Bower has learned to deal with. A few weeks ago the nearby Main Street bridge in Moosic finally reopened after being closed for more than four years.

Employees like Tyler Lutecki says its been a struggle the last few years.

"We're just trying to do everything we could to get our name out there and to try and get people to come around," Lutecki said.

The bridge on Lonesome Road and Main Street closed in April so it could be replaced.

Business owner Marie Brown who owns the diner down the road says times are getting tough.

"You know when the business is not what it should be your food bill is a little lower even though the price of eggs is crazy. I don't know I'm just doing what I gotta do," Brown said.

Business owners along Lonesome Road say it's one thing to lose out on business because the bridge is out. What really frustrates them is knowing work hasn't been done here in weeks.

PennDOT says there hasn't been a lot of work on-site because the wrong size beams were ordered. They are still waiting for the right ones to get in.

At Bloomin' Idiots, the owner says the bridge closure wouldn't be so bad if the detour wasn't so long.

"I had a customer on the other side of the bridge call me, how do I get to you and when I started to explain it to them they said never mind we're not even going to try. That was just a kick in the stomach," Bower said.

A PennDOT spokesperson tells Newswatch 16 there has been no request from the contractor to extend the project in Lackawanna County.

PennDOT says they still expect the bridge project to be complete in November.

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