Local businesses rejoice about Rocheport bridge replacement

Businesses discuss impacts

Businesses react to bridge replacement

ROCHEPORT, Mo. - Business owners on both sides of the Interstate 70 bridge near Rocheport are happy crews will build a new bridge.

They said the backups that would have come along with work on the current bridge would have had a major negative impact on business.

Drew Lemberger owns The Mount Nebo Inn in Rocheport. He said he hopes the shorter wait times during construction of the new bridge will encourage people to make the journey.

"It just keeps things more predictable. And I think that's what people appreciate is, you know, if there is going to be a slowdown in traffic and it's only 20 minutes and you know it's going to be 20 minutes every day that's a lot more comforting, you know, than it might be one hour one day and four hours the next," he said.

He said social media would have been a tool local businesses would have utilized if there were major traffic impacts.

He said he is also happy because the replacement will be more permanent.

Now, business owners in Rocheport are concerned about impacts on the Katy Trail. Flooding in the area several months ago closed the trail, which brings traffic and business into the town.

"Just speaking from some of the local area merchants I've talked with in Rocheport, we're concerned that while construction is going on that they take adequate measures to ensure the trail's open under the bridge," Lemberger said.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said it is still too early to tell for sure, but it expects there to be short closures, like a day here or there, but no major impacts.

Ed Scrivner owns Family Shoe Store in Boonville. He is also happy the bridge is being replaced.

He talked about the impact repairs to the current bridge would have had on the community.

"It'd go back to the 1960's when all the traffic came all the way through here," he said.

He said he is not sure what the impact would have been on businesses in Boonville.

"Possibly someone might stop and say, 'Oh I'm just going to stop for a while and breathe,' and get out and wander around. So that possibly could help. However, the locals would be all upset because they couldn't get through traffic and get around," he said.

Scrivner said people have become less worried about the replacement.

"Once it was decided it was not going to be eight hours of blockage it just died off. Nobody's said anything particular," he said.



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