OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — When Oak Island business owners found out the bridge would close for six month for repairs, many feared it would hurt their bottom line.
Some stores are seeing the opposite effect since the bridge closed last week.
Some businesses that rely on passing traffic like Doodle’s Gas Station and Convenience Store have been hurting since the Oak Island’s Barbee Bridge closed last Monday for repairs. Other businesses like Bob’s Hot Dogs say they’ve been thriving.
“It’s been really busy,” Manager Madison Pittman said. “Like since everyone’s been stuck on the island, all the workers here, they have nowhere to go, and they’re not going to drive 30 minutes to the other bridge to go to Southport. It’s weird to me because I’ve been here for like 3 years. And this is really busy.”
Alan Heckman has owned Frosty’s Ice Cream with his wife for 15 years. He says he saw this coming.
“I thought it might affect the mainland, Southport and Long Beach Road, more than the island,” Heckman said. “Cause most people that come here are the tourists.”
Heckman says his experience has not been quite the same as Bob’s Hot Dogs, but that may not be due to the bridge closure.
“It has been a little slow this fall, but we’re not sure if it’s from the bridge, or from the hurricane,” Heckman said. “It could be a combination of both, we’ll just have to see as this goes along.”
The bridge will remain closed until April.
The NCDOT says the maintenance will extend the bridge’s life by 25-50 years.