Bridge Construction Impact
construction puts hurt
on businesses located on both sides
no help was given as promised
(December 2012) Residents on both sides of
the Ohio River eagerly anticipate the completion of the Milton-Madison
Bridge perhaps none so eagerly as the business owners at
each end of the bridge. Altered traffic patterns have kept motorists
and business owners alike hopping to adjust to the new routes. While
some businesses have noted a loss of business due to both the construction
and the new traffic flow, others have actually experienced an increase.
by Don Ward
of the ramp on the Madison, Ind., side of the Milton-Madison Bridge
began in late November. Officials hope to re-route motorists in
mid-February onto the new ramps to access the new bridge while
still in its temporary position.
Business owners from both ends of the spectrum, however,
agree that the new bridge should bring higher traffic and more business
a win for everyone.
Susan Koerner, who co-owns Key West Shrimp House in Madison, Ind., with
her husband, Scott, says that the rerouting of traffic has actually
been very good for their business. Traffic now goes right by our
restaurant, so people are driving by that have never seen the restaurant
before. It makes for awesome free advertising, which is a great benefit.
The only downside of the rerouting has been the loss of parking. We
used to be able to park cars on both sides of Ferry Street, but they
had to take those lanes away because of the increased traffic. Thats
made parking difficult. But Kathie (Petkovic) at the Riverboat Inn has
been wonderful. She lets our employees and customers park at her place.
Once we figured out the parking, everything else has gone well,
Koerner also emphasizes the benefit of the new bridge. We cant
wait for it to get done. It will be a huge boost for Madison and for
John Kinman, owner of Fillin Station Liquors in Madison, echoes
Koerners enthusiasm for the coming bridge. Once the bridge
is completed, I look for there to be a lot more traffic, he says.
While he hasnt seen the increase in business that Koerner has,
he says that business has stayed pretty good. The decline has been far
less than he anticipated. Were still the first liquor store
as people come back into town, so we still do pretty well, says
by Don Ward
Hudson of Hudson Auto was given permission by Riverboat Inn owner
Kathie Petkovic to park some of his vehicles for sale along the
ramp leading to the bridge during construction.
The loss to business stems primarily from a reduced Friday
night traffic. From 4-7 p.m. traffic is backed way up. People
just dont want to cross the traffic to get here. Thats the
time I can tell the impact the most. Were down about 10-15 percent
on Friday sales, which adds up because thats a big night for us.
Also, a lot of people just dont want to fight the bridge
while everything is going on. We get a lot of business from Trimble
County because its a dry county. But with the construction, they
just dont bother coming over. Thats about the only two factors.
Otherwise, weve stayed pretty much the same. Ive been pretty
Kinman said he looks forward to the bridge completion and higher sales.
A lot of people just didnt trust the old bridge and wouldnt
take it. This new bridge should fix that. I think well see a lot
more traffic, which should help us.
Kinman also anticipates increased sales due to summer boat and RV traffic.
They couldnt use the bridge last summer and that really
hurt us, says Kinman.
Kevin Hudson, owner of Hudson Auto Sales next door to Fillin Station
Liquors, offers a different view. Would devastating
be a good word? he asks, rhetorically. We make 90 percent
of our sales from people driving by and seeing what they like. They
turned us into a dead end street. We get no traffic, says Hudson.
He notes that he is still has business but that the impact has hurt
him greatly. Hudson eagerly anticipates the installation of the new
ramps that are scheduled to open in early 2013 and will again route
traffic in front of his business.
Hudson also acknowledges the help of Petkovic during this temporary
hardship. She let us park a few cars in her front yard along Vaughn
Drive (near the temporary ramp to the bridge). Ive made a few
sales that way, Hudson said.
Those sales, plus a few from computer listings, have kept Hudsons
business afloat. There was supposed to be money to help businesses
impacted by the improvements, but I havent seen any, says
Hudson. He says he will simply have to wait out the construction hoping
that customers will return once the bridge is completed and traffic
again runs in front of the auto lot.
by Tess Worrell
Hudson said his business has suffered from the bridge construction
because much of his car sales were dependent upon drive-by traffic.
Businesses on the Kentucky side of the river seem to have
universally taken a harder hit. Troy Burkhardt, owner of Milton Fast
Lane B.P., says, Business has been terrible. Were probably
25 percent off. With traffic rerouted away from the station, its
just too inconvenient for people to come back over here. Others dont
take the bridge at all because they dont want to get caught in
all the mess, especially the Friday evening traffic. Our volume is down,
and thats hurt us. Theres nothing we can do to offset it.
The downturn comes from both the rerouting issue and from the ongoing
curb construction that has the road in front of his store under construction.
As part of the bridge project, crews are installing curbs in front of
the gas station.
Before, you could pull into the station anywhere along the road.
With the new curbs, were going to be down to two entry points.
I dont know how that will affect us.
Burkhardts major complaint is the lack of communication with business
owners. We dont know about timing when this
(curb) job will be done. No one has told us who will maintain the new
curbs or the shrubs they are putting in. There was supposed to be money
for advertising for stores located at the end of the bridge, but we
havent seen any. There has been zero communication, says
That makes it hard to plan. I at least expected someone would
come by just to at least give us an overview, but that never happened.
Burkhardt notes that at the beginning there was a lot of talk about
help for the river businesses. Hes very disappointed that never
At the same time, Burkhardt says hes tickled to death to
be getting a new bridge. He anticipates much greater traffic once
the bridge is in place. It will take three to five months to rebuild
our customer base, but then it might be even better than before. Were
going to be fine until then, but we will be glad to have the bridge
Kenny McCoy, owner of Riverside Produce, agrees. Our business
is down because we just arent getting the customers. Theres
nothing we can do about that. We just hope the new bridge brings more
business, he says.
Neil Bryan, president of the Farmers Bank of Milton, noted that the
impact for the bank has been more indirect. Weve had no
direct negative impact. Traffic runs in front of the bank, and our customers
are still able to get here. The only issue has been parking with the
increased traffic. But we are the anomaly. Some of our customers have
lost traffic due to traffic being diverted and to paving and construction.
Their receipts are down, which affects profitability, and that has in
turn impacted us in an indirect manner.
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