On June 15, a tractor-trailer slammed into the Cherry Lane bridge that crosses Interstate 30, shutting traffic down and altering the daily routine of many commuters on the west side of Fort Worth.
A month later the bridge, which sustained significant structural damage, is still closed and Jiyeon Kim, owner of Donut Express, is feeling it.
“It’s killing me,” Kim said.
Unfortunately for Kim and other businesses, the once-busy bridge won’t be opening anytime soon.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Peters said one of the beams must be replaced and because it is being fabricated off-site in Elm Mott near Waco, it will take about 45 days to complete.
A $130,000 contract has been awarded to Scott Tucker Construction of Fort Worth to repair the bridge once the beam is ready.
But in even in the best-case scenario, the bridge will remain closed for several months, perhaps until November or December.
“The goal would be to open the bridge before the holidays depending on weather and materials,” Peters said. “We need to replace a beam on the bridge deck. It’s currently unsafe for vehicular traffic.”
The bridge serves as an important access point for residents of White Settlement and west Fort Worth who would drive southbound across Cherry Lane to get on I-30 and head east toward downtown.
Now drivers must go further west to Las Vegas Trail and loop under the freeway to go east on I-30.
And with those commuters go dollars spent at a handful of businesses along Cherry Lane.
A clerk who declined to give his name at Wally’s Liquor, which sits in the same strip shopping center at Donut Express, said sales were down dramatically since they lost the bridge traffic. Customers complained that it was too hard to reach the business with the detours, he said.
At Donut Express, Kim said sales were down 35 percent over the last month. Before the bridge closed, drivers would cross the bridge and grab some breakfast.
“My customers can’t reach me in the morning,” Kim said. “I get all business when they’re on their way to work. I’m really sad.”