Business owners worried about Lafayette Bridge project - WNEM TV 5

Business owners worried about Lafayette Bridge project

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A key route through a Mid-Michigan community is about to be closed and drivers could be diverted for more than two years.

Local businesses are worried what the closure could mean for their business.

"It's tremendous. It hurts the businesses on the Salzburg Avenue corridor. That's all there is to it," said John Aguilar, owner of AJ Bailey's Saloon.

A new plan rolled out to replace the Lafayette Street Bridge in Bay City is causing a lot of worry for many in the area.

Aguilar's business is right at the base of the bridge.

"When someone finds another place to go it's hard to get them back," he said.

He would be losing business for about two years while the bridge is demolished and replaced.

The bridge was built in 1938 and underwent a major renovation in 1987. The state said it's in fair to poor condition.

"It's been receiving an amount of repairs. So they have deemed that it needs to be replaced because the repairs are costing so much," said Robert Dion, deputy director for Bay City.

The full design of the bridge has not been laid out yet, but it will cost an estimated $46 million. It is completely funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the construction is slated to begin in 2020.

Although Aguilar is not happy with how the project could impact his business, he wants it to get done.

"Let's get it done, get it done right. And then we don't have to deal with it again," he said.

He is trying to stay positive.

"I'm going to get the people that work on the bridge to come have burger and beer at my bar," Aguilar said.

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