Bridge closure hurts business in Richmond

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(Host) Business owners in Richmond say they’ve already been hurt by the closure of a key bridge in the center of town.

Ben Bush and his wife own On the Rise Bakery near the closed bridge.  He says business slowed as soon as detours went up around the bridge last week.

(Bush) "On the weekdays especially, when a lot of our customers and community are coming from the other side of the bridge on their way to work, we’re not seeing them because they’re going in the opposite direction.  You know on the weekdays, now that we’ve seen a full weekday, we’re down between 40 and 50 percent."

(Host) Bush says he’s already had to send employees home early, and he has scaled back baking.

Transportation Agency Chief Engineer Richard Tetreault says Richmond town officials are leading the plans to repair the bridge.

The Richmond bridge is the second that the state has ordered closed this summer because it’s deteriorating. The other was on Route 2 between Middlesex and Waterbury.

Tetreault says the closures aren’t a sign of a trend.

(Tetreault) "We have enough money to keep our bridges in a safe condition. We are working very well in inspecting them to ensure they’re safe. Certainly, we could have more money to address the critical need or the poorer structures more quickly than we can now. But we are using the funds that we have adequately.”

(Host) Tetreault says whenever the Transportation Agency gets money, its goal is to rehabilitate bridges before they need to be replaced.

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