Carrolton business owners protest VDOT bridge repair plan

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by Philip Townsend, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 24 at 5:41 PM

Carrolton, Va.

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CARROLTON -- A restaurant owner living on the southern end of the James River Bridge is sending a message to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Tom Pruitt put up a large sign outside of Bridges Restaurant on Carrolton Boulevard in Isle of Wight County, slamming the department for continuing plans to close down the southbound portion of the bridge.

Work at the JRB is slated for the next two weekends.

"There was zero business. We can't go on like this," Pruitt said, after the most recent closure two weekends ago.

The Department announced that they would not close down both the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the JRB at the same time, but Pruitt and other business owners nearby say it's not enough.

Other local business owners joined Pruitt in objecting to the road repair plan.

"They can split the northbound lanes into two-way traffic so people can get to this side without a 20-mile detour. We lost 90 percent of our business," said Lisa Steele, owner of Bella Fabrics in Carrollton.

In a statement to 13News, VDOT said they're still weighing the options on the bridge repair plan.

Currently, The JRB Grid Deck Replacement Project is being constructed under full-weekend closures. The length of this bridge is approximately five miles and the proximity of vehicles traveling head-on in a work zone for this great of a distance violates our statewide safety standards. While safety of the traveling public and our workers will not be compromised, we will continue to look for innovative ways to accommodate two-way traffic on the open bridge span to lessen traffic impacts and maintain safety. 

Meanwhile, the business owners have enlisted the help of Del. Rick Morris to urge VDOT to change their plans.

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