Downtown businesses hurting from months-long bridge closure
SEAFORD, Del. – Locals have long been frustrated with the closing of the Front Street Bridge that connects Seaford with Blades, but now we’re learning it’s having a pretty big impact on High Street. Businesses are feeling the pinch now that thousands of cars which use that route everyday haven’t passed by for months.
The Front Street Bridge has been closed since June 17. The 94-year old bridge sees roughly 12,000 cars go across each day. That traffic has been gone for months, and many businesses are feeling it.
“Everyone’s frustrated. The traffic on High Street and downtown Seaford, and this side of town in general is just sparse,” said Alan Cranston, the owner of Every Fiber Coffee Co.
Some businesses have been spared, like the Fantasy Beauty Salon, which takes appointments for its customers.
“We’ve had a few complaints because people leave the other side of town and expect to be here in five minutes,” said owner Sara Lee Thomas. “We’ve had people come in maybe five or ten minutes late.”
This closure comes at a time when other neighboring bridges, like Laurel bridge, are closed adding to the transit nightmare.
DelDOT tells us the construction is maintenance and was done during the summer to avoid interfering with school.
Cranston, who opened Every Fiber Coffee Company just two weeks before the shutdown and says he has lost 50 percent revenue since the closure, asserts this should not happen, especially during the summer season.
“If we were at the beach, they wouldn’t have shut down a bridge at the beach in the middle of summer for three months. So why is it OK western Sussex to shutdown bridges,” Cranston said.
Cranston went on to say he was blindsided days before the construction signs went up. He says dozens of emails have been sent to DelDOT like this one asking what the thought process was, any ways to open the bridge up, even if it was just during night hours.
“I’ve not been able to talk to anyone from DelDOT to find out pretty much any information. No timelines, nothing. The closest I’ve gotten to is walking down to the bridge and try to talk to the guys that are there, but they don’t want to talk to anybody, either.”
But everyone is just ready for the bridge to reopen.
“It’s better to be inconvenienced by five or ten minutes for several days, or a few weeks,” Thomas said.
One of the big points of contention here is that Cranston felt his business was not given enough notice, he says it was days beforehand.
The bridge closed on June 17, and the city of Seaford posted a notice to their Facebook on the 5th, 12 days prior.
One councilman in Seaford did raise the point to 47ABC that communication could have been better between DelDOT, the city and its business community.
The bridge is expected to reopen on time, August 24.