Draper Lake Bridge opening is cause to celebrate

DEBORAH WHEELER 267-4555 | @WaltonSunDeb dwheeler@waltonsun.com
Draper Lake Bride reopens to cheers all around.

South Waltoners had reason to celebrate last weekend beyond the fact that it was a long Valentine's weekend.

Causing many cheers to go up and high fives all around was the reopening of the Draper Lake Bridge, which had been out of commission since September.

The bridge's closing meant major inconvenience for all travelers on 30A for several months, and businesses in the Blue Mountain area suffered loss of revenue.

However, the bridge was completed ahead of the March 1 estimate and reopened at 2 p.m. Feb. 12, ahead of the busy long weekend.

Social network sites lit up with the news and many took photos and sent them out in celebration.

Redd Vizard, owner of Redd's Fueling Station in Blue Mountain said she had not realized the impact the bridge closure had on her business until Friday night when many people came in that she had not seen since September.

"It was quite busy Friday night," she said.

Jack McTighe owner of Johnny McTigue's Irish Pub, agreed, saying he saw also customers he had not seen in six months.

"Reopening helped tremendously," he said.

Hanie Nasri, a most vocal business owner located next door to Redd's, said his business at Marie's Bistro was up 40 percent all weekend over what it had been during the bridge's closure.

"There was an instant change when it reopened," he said. "Today, lunch traffic was unbelievable. Thank God."

Even with all the celebrating the good news, though, these businesses are looking at another long stretch of being cut off when October comes around again and construction begins on the bridge at Redfish Lake.

"When October comes, they will cut us off again, and it will be for the third year in a row," said Nasri. "They should wait a year and give us a break.

Redd agreed. "The next one will have the bigger impact," she said.

McTigue also agreed. "The next one will cut into my business drastically as it will cut me off from Grayton and Seaside, where most of my customers come from," he said. "It will be 10-times bigger and worse. But, I don't know what to do."