Bridge Work Hurts the Bottom Line of Businesses in The Flats

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Billions of dollars need to be spent to improve America's infrastructure.

Some improvements have already begun, right here in Cleveland. But while the bridges in The Flats are getting a makeover, it's also causing businesses to suffer while the repairs are made.

Since the recession hit Northeast Ohio, hard life in The Flats has been flat lining. But some businesses have been able to hold on, now another twist is coming and going to hurt companies trying to do business in the flats.

The Center Street Swing bridge is 109-years old. Starting in May, it's going to be closed for a year long, $2.6 million dollar repair job. It needs its deck, sidewalks, electrical and mechanical parts repaired. About 4,000 vehicles pass over it every day.

Classic Seafood sits right at the foot of the Swing Bridge.

"Well, it will directly affect us with respect to our retail and wholesale business. We have employees that use the bridge," says Codino Samarellis of Classic Seafood in The Flats. "We have customers that come over the bridge. In the fall we have big clambake business. We have customers coming picking up product. Now, they're going to have to go through other routes."

The Flats businesses including Nautica, Christie's, the Powerhouse and other night hot spots will lose money when the bridge closes.

The Willow Lift bridge will be reduced to one lane during its $5.5 million dollar upgrade. The West Third Street lift bridge will go down for a new paint job starting in late September.

Two other bridges in The Flats will undergo repairs soon, too. The 70-year-old Carter Road bridge needs electrical and mechanical work done. The Columbus Road lift bridge will close in November 2011. It will be totally replaced.

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