Julien Dubuque Bridge closure impacts East Dubuque businesses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Julien Dubuque Bridge closure impacts East Dubuque businesses

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The heavily traveled Julien Dubuque Bridge over the Mississippi River will be closed for approximately 10 days beginning Mon., July 21 to replace deck joints on the bridge.

The closure will mean a detour for thousands of drivers. Motorists traveling to East Dubuque and Illinois will be detoured to the Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge and will be directed to enter Illinois via Wisconsin Highway 11 and Wisconsin/Illinois Highway 35.

The closure means many small businesses in East Dubuque located near the Mississippi River may have less customers for 10 days.

Jeff Jansen owns Vans Liquors located right off of Highway 20 in East Dubuque. He said a majority of his customers are from Iowa. In preparation for the closure, he said he is offering discounts on some of his products.

"We're going to do some really great pricing (including next week), but we could do all that and discount significantly and we could still end up 25% down for the week. I have no idea what to expect," Jansen said Friday.

Jansen said although he may have less customers, he realizes the bridge does need to be repaired.

"They were thinking about doing it one lane at a time which would have extended it out I think to a month and a half to two months. This is the way that we want it to be done, but it is going to cause a pretty substantial decline in our business," Jensen said.

Joe Heim is the East Dubuque Fire Chief. He said the closest hospitals for East Dubuque are in Galena, Illinois and Dubuque. He said it typically takes around 5 minutes for an ambulance to get to a hospital in Dubuque, with the closures he expects that time to jump to at least 10 minutes.

"We are impacted because we have a longer commute to the hospitals. We have arranged with our mutual aid ambulances to, if we need to, do an upgrade on different areas to meet along the way," Heim said.

Heim said although time to the hospital may increase, he still insures safety is a top priority for patients.

The pedestrian/bike trail on the Julien will remain open during the $920,000 construction project.

The scheduled 10-day closure will begin at 6 a.m. The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) says it plans to reopen the bridge on Thu., July 31.

Ron Steele contributed to this story.

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