NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Frustrations are boiling over in New Haven as construction delays persist on a heavily traveled bridge.
Work began on the State Street bridge in May of 2009. The road was shut down in October 2010. It was supposed to be back open again in 2011, but now it won't reopen until 2013.
"It's been one thing after another and we've tried to make good business decisions and we've done the best we can with a real bad situation," said Brian Mercure, from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
The bad situation for the DOT started with a water main that unexpectedly had to be replaced. Then there were plans to ram sheets of metal into the river bed to form a kind of dam, but they found pilings for the I-91 bridge up above were in the way. Then they found soil and groundwater was contaminated, so that meant another delay.
Incomplete records on the 100-year-old bridge is the reason for all these surprises.
"People don't do their due diligence of recording things that happen a lot of times," Mercure said. "For example, the water main that we hit early on. It was not shown on the plans."
For drivers, the bridge is just an annoyance. They have to detour, but it's only a few blocks out of their way. But there are stores that depend on that traffic going by, like the Gloria's Grocery, and they say this is putting a real dent in their bottom line.
"We don't get that much traffic anymore," said Eddy Ramirez. "Business has been down by half."
With the bridge now expected to open a full two years later than first proposed, Gloria's might not be there to see it.
"Are you ok? Are you going to make it another year," News 8's Kent Pierce asked.
"I don't think so," Ramirez said. "Honestly I don't think so."
"Do you think this bridge might put you out of business?"
Folks at the DOT say they will try to beat the fall 2013 projected opening. This is not cheap for them either. Construction costs have doubled from $5 million to $10 million.
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