BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Construction to replace a 62-year-old Brunswick County bridge in bad shape begins today. That means road closures that some people say are quite an inconvenience.
The project to replace the bridge between Bolivia and Oak Island closes Midway Road between Gilbert and Lewis Loop roads until late May leaves some nearby businesses wondering how they will survive.
“We’re going to lose half of our customer base,” said David Shepherd, owner of Midway Seafood.
“With it being closed, we’ve estimated probably about 70 percent of our business comes from that end of the road,” said Greenland Farm Store owner Henry Burkert.
The NCDOT says the bridge is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. That means it has remained safe for use, but needs replacing.
“We’re for the bridge being replaced,” Burkert said. “That’s a good thing, seeing as its 60-some years old.”
The DOT had planned the project for last spring, but concerns that the closure might affect summer tourism and shutdown of a potential hurricane evacuation route, convinced the agency to reschedule.
Burkert says they asked for a temporary bridge to keep business flowing through the area.
“We’ve tried our best to bring awareness and maybe get a temporary bridge was our great hope through all of this, but no temporary bridge,” he said.
And with no other alternatives, Burkert says the issue is water under the bridge.
“We feel ok,” Burkert said. “It’s in God’s will.”
To get around the closure, the DOT has put up a signed detour using Gilbert Road and US 17 Business to get to and from Midway Road.