AIKEN, S.C. – Thousands of cars travel across the York Street Bridge daily. And with South Carolina Department of Transportation shutting it down, nearby business like Thru Time and Ages say it’s essentially shutting them down.
Tom Misiag sells antique jewelry and collectors’ items from all over the world. His store sits on York Street.
“Just getting started, it’s rough getting started with a new business, especially this side of downtown. But it’s been made almost impossible with the bridge closing,” says Misiag.
Last week the York Street Northbound Lane and Fairfield Street Bridge were closed to traffic after a routine inspection discovered the bridges were deteriorating structurally. Now South Carolina DOT says it could be more than a year before it reopens.
“I noticed that business dropped off about 95 percent as soon as the bridge was closed,” says Misiag.
He says he doesn’t think his business will survive for another year. Aiken city council member Dick Dewar says the York Street Bridge construction is currently in the design phase. And he’s working to speed up the process.
“We have worked and had great support from Senator Tom Young, who has worked with DOT and has convinced them to put this on an emergency basis,” says Dewar.
But for Misiag, he says the closing is just the beginning of his worries. Once construction crews move in, it will completely cut off the access to his business.
“I’m worrying about a worst case scenario. By the time they come here, what are they going to do with the equipment, the trailers, the workers, and the cars. Are they going to take up all my space?”
South Carolina DOT says construction won’t start until the end of this year to repair the bridge. And once that construction begins, it will take another 6 to 9 months to complete the project.