Business owner calls for expedited fix to Cheshire Bridge Road

Construction on a portion of Cheshire Bridge Road has been ongoing since last September after an overnight fire in early August prompted officials to call for a total rebuild of the bridge. With its expected completion date set for October of this year, some business owners said they’re growing frustrated with the wait. 

"The major frustration is my weekday traffic…there is none. This rush hour…there is no rush," Taverna Plaka owner Scott Duke said.

He said the road closure just a few hundred yards away from the restaurant he’s been running for almost 20 years has been driving customers away since August of last year.

"Normally, on a Tuesday at this time of night, we’d have 80 to 100 people as opposed to the eight to maybe 18 people we’ll have this evening," he explained. "It’s very, very difficult, especially coming out of COVID. It’s adding salt to an already fresh wound that, frankly, the area doesn’t need."

Duke said when city officials announced they’d demolish and rebuild the bridge, he never imagined it would be a job that would take almost a year and a half to fix.

"I was like ‘well maybe it’s gonna be the same as the I-85 bridge, which took 50 days and to find out that this is 15 months later is a very serious blow to business," he recalled.

He said the road being closed was already an inconvenience, but the detour to get around the blocked off area is another hurdle that has his restaurant and other businesses hurting.

"It’s impacted everyone from the restaurant industry to the doggy daycare industry, Club Diogo down the street," he said. "Something that should take three minutes to traverse can sometimes be 30 to 45 minutes."

Duke said while the tentative finish date is months away, he hopes the new city mayor and council will make bridging the gap a priority and expedite the project.

FOX 5 reached out to Councilman Alex Wan who represents people in this part of the city to see what steps are being taken to alleviate the burden on businesses, but didn’t get an immediate response. 

The expected completion date of the project is October 2022.