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Railroad Holding Up Bridge Repair, Businesses Struggling

BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- A permit from the Norfolk Southern Railroad is delaying Boone County from fixing an aging railroad bridge that was closed a month ago. 

Closing the bridge that carries Richardson Road over the tracks has forced long detours for residents and is hurting local businesses.

"Its killing me.  Its killing me because we used to have about 14,000 cars a day drive by," John Huffman of Beechgrove Self-Storage and U-Haul told Local 12 while standing in the middle of Richardson Road Monday morning.

"We're standing in the street.  There's only about four
People that drive by now.  And those are nearby residents or churchgoers." 

Huffman says the drop in business has forced UHaul to take away 30-percent of his fleet of trucks. 

Down the road at Beechgrove Plaza, other businesses are also feeling the pain.  The Subway restaurant says its seen a 60-percent drop in business. 
Liquor Box owner Adam Blau says he celebrated his first anniversary in the business the same week the bridge was closed. He's lost 20-percent of his business.

"I hope I can make it another year but its going to be tough."

The 1970's vintage bridge has had weight restrictions since the summer of 2012.  State inspectors found deterioration of the timber structure in September of this year and ordered it closed.  Boone County is responsible for maintaining the bridge and is ready to do a comprehensive
inspection.  That requires a permit from Norfolk Southern.  They applied for the permit nearly one month ago.

"We already have equipment lined up and the resources so we can immediately perform the inspection upon issuance of the permit," Boone County Administrator, Jeff Earlywine, told Local 12. 

Once that inspection is done, the county will decide if the bridge can be repaired or needs to be replaced. 

Local 12 contacted Norfolk Southern for comment.  They had not replied when this story was filed.



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