In the year and a half it took to upgrade the Jefferson Park Avenue Bridge, drivers found new ways to get where they need to go. Now, the bridge is open again, and while nearby businesses are hoping for more traffic, it's hard to stay optimistic.
It has only been four days since the bridge reopened to traffic, which is not enough time to really gauge a comeback. But nearby businesses are still worried for their once bustling corner.
Before construction began in April 2011, the bridge saw heavy daytime traffic, which sustained nearby businesses like Wayside Chicken and Hoo's Brew. Days after the bridge opened to drivers, these stores say little has changed for them.
Hoo's Brew manager Jaime Wilberger remembers frustrated customers complaining about the bridge closure. She wonders where they are now. "Every day, almost every single customer was, 'When's the bridge going to open? Is it open yet?' I mean every day it was something. And now it's open, and no one is using it."
The closure cut profits at Hoo's Brew in half. Wayside Chicken saw a similar drop in sales. Both stores say, if things don't pick up, they might have to pack it in.
But traffic is picking up slightly on the JPA bridge. Neighbors say it's been very convenient, and much easier to get where they need to go.
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science.Full Story
Ed joined the NBC29 news team in May, 2011. A Charlotte, NC, native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story