BROOKPORT, IL — The Brookport Bridge closure is not just impacting your commute. It is causing businesses to close their doors.
The bridge, which is over the Ohio River on U.S. 45, connects Massac County, Illinois, to McCracken County, Kentucky.
Smoke Shop manager Fran Johnson said sales have fallen since the closure began a few months ago.
"Usually there would be three lines full of people just waiting to get lottery tickets, cigarettes, either beer," said Johnson. "Now maybe you get two lines."
People can still use Interstate 24 to get to and from Brookport, but Johnson said many people think of that as a dangerous route. "A lot of them don't like going on 24. There's wrecks with too many semis," said Johnson, and it's a longer route as well. "It's out of their distance when they live right across the river, maybe five minutes down the road, and they have to go half hour just to get here."
Brookport resident Sandy Obermark is one of those avoiding I-24 at all costs.
"It devastated me, because this is the only bridge I ever use," Obermark said about the Brookport Bridge.
She has lived in Brookport more than 32 years. Since the bridge closure began, she has not set foot in Paducah.
A lot has changed in the past couple of months, Obermark said, and businesses are suffering. "There's not a lot of businesses here anyway, but they depended on people to come across," she said.
Lola's Little Diner on 100 East 3rd St. closed shortly after the bridge closed.
"I guess it's been open maybe six months, but they were starting to get a good business going," said Obermark. "And even included a few things, necessities for the people around, bread, milk, so that we wouldn't have to travel, so that was kind of sad."
When the business opens its doors again depends heavily on when the bridge reopens. A sign on the front of Lola's Diner reads: "Closed until the bridge opens. See y'all soon."
Friday, the cabinet said it should have an update on work being done on the bridge and when it will reopen by the middle of next week.