Local Businesses Surveyed For Impact of Bridge Closure

by Devin Katayama on September 15, 2011

Greater Louisville Inc. is sending surveys to area businesses to determine the effect the Sherman Minton Bridge closure had on local business.

The survey went out Tuesday to members of GLI, One Southern Indiana and several other business associations as local businesses are adjusting schedules, management, and in some cases shipping routes in response to the bridge closure.

“Our government is struggle right now. So this couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” said Matt Hall, interim president of One Southern Indiana.

For areas like Clark County, there’s not much money available to help manage the loss of a major interstate, said Hall. This is especially difficult for businesses that use large trucks which are only permitted for the Sherman Minton Bridge, he said.

“We have weight restrictions on the Kennedy Bridge and the Sherman Minton Bridge was the only bridge that we use to get around that. And now permitted loads need to go to Owensboro or Madison or some other area to go completely around. They have to bypass the entire Louisville Metro,” said Hall.

Many businesses with locations on both sides of the river are especially hard hit, he said. Some companies have reportedly spent an extra $3,000 a day on gas, said GLI’s Becky Ruby Swansburg.

“One thing we did in tandem with Greater Louisville Inc. was survey our businesses to see what their concerns are, what their problem are, their issues are, their challenges are. What they’re doing that’s successful, what’s not working, what is working,” said Hall.

At least 250 surveys have been returned.  Swansburg expects the bridge closure to affect business on the national level, too.

The survey shows the loss of employee productivity and extra costs for detouring around the bridge are having major effects on local business, she said.

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