Questions still remain concerning future of a Tri-State bridge - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Future of New Harmony Bridge still in question

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It's been almost eight months since the New Harmony Bridge closed to traffic, and the future of the Wabash River bridge is still uncertain.

The question Thursday night, how the closing affected local businesses?

A road closed sign sits at the bridge entrance, and another set of gates after that. The barricades have been up since April.

Local businesses say they've noticed a change in visitors since then.

"Definitely hurts the morale. You know, we've had kind of a rough time with the school closing and the bridge is kind of a double whammy," said Creation Station owner Rick Huffman. 

Huffman says community morale is low. Some businesses in town are also hurting.

"The businesses it really affects, the restaurants. Because a lot of people came over from Carmine, Crossville, southern Illinois came over here to the restaurants," Huffman said. "And of course the biggest ones are the two filling stations/convenience stores."

The New Harmony Inn echoes that, saying their business has been gone way down since the bridge closed.

Others say they haven't noticed much of a difference.

"The people that I had coming. They're still coming," said owner of Sara's Harmony Way, Sara Brown.

Brown says she has a younger clientele, something that's helped out.

"I think lots of times older people don't want to drive at night, let alone get on and off the interstate," Brown said. 

Huffman hasn't noticed much of a difference either. What he's most concerned about at this point is the extra travel time for emergency vehicles.

'Those people, when they have major medical emergencies they're going to Evansville," he said. "And now that trip's going to be considerably longer in terms of time. And time is lives."

As for the future of this bridge, Indiana lawmakers are still hopeful.

State Representative Wendy McNnamara says INDOT is still willing to put up $10 million toward the construction of a new bridge.

We've put a call into the White County Bridge commission, who owns it.

We're still waiting for their response.

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