Business Continue to Struggle with US-131 Bridge Construction
It's been almost five months since construction began on the new Manistee River Bridge, but some businesses have already reached a breaking point. MDOT closed US-131 in September to replace the more than 50-year-old bridge. Since then, traffic has been re-routed on the 15 to 20-mile detours. Businesses like the Yankee Motel in South Boardman say the construction has cut their business in half. “We're not a destination motel, we're a travelers motel, being on the highway here,” says Mark Six, Manager of the Yankee Motel. Six says they thought about closing, but will try to tough it out. Other businesses have already had enough. Six told us this weekend the restaurant across the street, Yankee Boy Restaurant, decided to shutdown at least until the US-131 re-opens. “I'm just looking forward to things getting back to normal and summer coming, and being able to continue to make a profit,” says Six. Although Six is frustrated, he says he's not bitter at MDOT. He understands the bridge needs to be replaced. MDOT specifically waiting until after the busy summer season to start construction. It plans to have US-131 back open by Memorial Day. 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have the story.