Longtime business owner says bridge work at No. 42 is slowing down

Omaha, Nebraska (WOWT) – This summer, the 42nd Street Bridge opened with smooth traffic flow. About 40,000 cars pass through it and past businesses on S. 42nd Street every day.

But the bridge needed repairs, and in October, Omaha crews closed it to begin a year-long replacement project.

Tim Parys, who owns two businesses in the area, doesn’t know if he’ll last that long.

“I don’t know,” Paris said. “If things weren’t that bad, I’d probably be able to get six months out of the funds.”

But Tim’s auto repair shop and convenience store didn’t last that long.

Three months after the closure, Tim’s former employee told me that Tim saw no way to make a profit with the bridge closed, so he sold the family business.

Mega Saver is the new owner of Tim’s previous business. Just down the street, Larry Eckley’s Auto Brokerage is still open, but business is slowing due to bridge work.

“When I say it’s slowed down, it’s probably down 60% in terms of business,” Akeley said. “It’s about the holidays and this time of year and then hopefully it picks up during the tax period, but 40,000 cars didn’t come through and it really affected us.”

A lot has changed on this stretch of 42nd Street, Larry said. Some fast food restaurants have closed and others have adjusted their hours — all of which construction work is forcing traffic to be diverted through neighborhoods in the area. This made it difficult for Mary Mohr to get in and out when visiting her parents on F Street.

“When we try to get out of the lane, it takes a long time to get out, especially during peak hours, you know, morning, noon, 3:00 to 5, sometimes even 6,” Moore said.

Traffic flow on the neighborhood streets was meeting the expectations of Larry and other business owners, but construction changed traffic flow close to Akeley’s company.

“We’re in a cul-de-sac, so it’s a little bit different than having so much traffic,” Akeley said. “There’s a lot less traffic and accidents … a lot slower in general.”

Larry said he will be doing more advertising and more work on social media to get the word out and hopefully get more business.

City officials said they have been working on the project as weather permits. Although only three months old, the city believes the bridge will be completed on schedule in the fall.

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