Sherman Minton bridge closure starting to impact businesses

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE)- Saturday evening, traffic on I-65 at the Kennedy Bridge slowed to a crawl, while traffic on the Sherman Minton/ I-64 bridge in New Albany, was not there.

"Really, I was surprised when I heard that the bridge really is closed down," Michel Nasseem, owner of the La Boca Restaurant in New Albany said. "Because, really, we have a lot of business coming from Louisville."

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ordered the Bridge closed Friday, after a crack was found in the load carrying element of the bridge.

"I just hope that the public can, in what can inevitably be an exasperating period here for a while, that people understand that it was done in their interest," Governor Daniels said Saturday.

That period had already begun for some businesses in New Albany, like Wicke's pizza. Assistant General Manager Chris Owens said Friday night was not typical for them.

"Last night being a Friday night, we wasn't a normal Friday night crowd that we expected. You can definitely tell that it affected us really bad," He said.

At La Boca, Nasseem echoed the same sentiment.

"For sure, it's going to affect business," He said.

Nasseem said he was looking at a future with a closed least for a time.

"I like, hope it's going to be... everything is alright. But, I know as you were asking me before, yes, sure it's going to...people coming from there (Louisville). We'll see what's going to happen," He said.

At a press conference in New Albany, Saturday, Governor Mitch Daniels said three weeks would be necessary to identify how big the fix is.

"We're going to ask everyone to bear with us and the experts about 3 weeks, maybe a little more," He said. "At that point, there ought to be something more definitive to say about how extensive and how long the failsafe repair will need to be."

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