Bridge project affecting businesses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bridge project affecting businesses

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Friday marks the start of a messy schedule for a heavily-traveled eastern Iowa bridge.

The entire Fourth Street Bridge connects both sides of Waterloo, and it's shut down while crews work on the metal structure and windows.

Crews say they need the road space while they're working for their heavy equipment.

The real problem is, Fourth Street isn't the only bridge project crews are working on this summer, and downtown business owners say they're concerned customers won't want to stop by because of the congested mess.

Construction crews are busy working in the day-light hours on the Fourth Street Bridge, but they'll reopen traffic every night at 7 p.m. and on the weekends.

However, that accommodation doesn't help businesses like Robin's Surplus.

The store manager, Cinda Johnson, wants to remind customers they're open.

"Have patience, tolerance, we're still open, come visit," Johnson said.

Cinda says a lot of her business comes from the other side of the Cedar River.

Whether people are walking from the Ramada or just driving by, closing the Fourth Street Bridge will never be good for business.

"It'll be nice to see they've transformed the bridge. Hopefully it'll look quite a bit better than it has for quite a while. So, I'm thinking it's going to make things a little tricky for people to get here, and that'll slow business down. That's always rough on the small businesses," Johnson said.

Johnson said even though the bridge will be re-opened for special events this summer, the project timeline has her concerned.

"It surprises me it's going to go all the way through September. That's going to be rough," Johnson said.

"Being so close to the bridge and having that being our main access, it's going to be hard to give people directions, especially since Parker and Mullan have been closed on and off," Johnson said.

Community leaders said they plan to re-open the bridge for My Waterloo Days and Irish Fest.

For more details about the project, you can click here.

The project is expected to fully wrap up this coming September, with driving and foot traffic up and moving by October.

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