How are IN businesses going to be impacted with Blue Bridge clos - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

How are IN businesses going to be impacted with Blue Bridge closure?

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Drivers who cross the Blue Bridge in and out of Owensboro will have to find other routes when the bridge closes for painting in May. 
 
How will that impact businesses on the Indiana side of the river?

Summer is road project season in the Tri-State, and while business owners agree the work on the Blue Bridge is necessary, they realize it'll affect more than just traffic.

The REO Raceway in Rockport sits on Highway 161 and the Blue Bridge is its lifeline to Owensboro. Owner Jay Bickel says he took a big financial hit two years ago, the last time the bridge closed.

"It was just devastating. We went from an 8,500 car count driving by to a hundred a day and it was just a struggle to stay in business," Bickel said.

Transportation officials announced last month the bridge would close in May to be painted and wouldn't reopen until November. 

"We can't get enough patrons here with that bridge closed to even keep the lights on," Bickel told 14 News.

Tyler Boats, just down the road from REO Raceway, says they sell the most boats between may and the Fourth of July, so the closure comes at a bad time.

"Hopefully it won't be that bad. Most of my customers are used to coming to my store, and hopefully they will still come to me no matter how long it takes to get here, even if it takes 15, 20, 30 minutes longer," Jim Tyler said. 

Some people have asked, "Why couldn't the road work be done another time of year?"  

Transportation officials say after looking at several options, closing the bridge this summer was the best option.

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