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Impact of Route 420 south bridge closure on drivers, businesses

Crews shut down southbound lanes of Route 420 bridge due to major deterioration
Crews shut down southbound lanes of Route 420 bridge due to major deterioration 03:00

PROSPECT PARK, Pa. (CBS) -- Drivers are dealing with a longer commute after a major bridge in Delaware County was abruptly shut down. PennDOT says the Route 420 South bridge is deteriorating and damaged.

Becky Sciarrino is the co-owner of America's Pie on Powhattan Avenue in Tinicum Township. With the southbound lanes of the Route 420 bridge shut down, she says it's harder for her customers to get to the store and for delivery drivers to deliver food.

"It's frightening. It's scary. A lot of family members depend on these stores," Sciarrino said.

She recently bought out two adjacent storefronts to expand the pizza shop, a decision she now regrets.

"By buying those stores out now and possibly losing probably half your sales due to customers not being able to get here, us not being able to get product out fast enough, that's going to hinder the expansion of the store," Sciarrino said.

PennDOT says it shut down the southbound side of the bridge after "the discovery of significant beam and bearing pedestal deterioration" during a routine inspection last week. 

Spokesperson Brad Rudolph says engineers are working on a plan that would allow some southbound traffic to get through.

"We're looking at a few options. Do you run both northbound and southbound on the northbound bridge, you know, and take northbound down to one lane?" Rudolph said.

Another option is to reopen the southbound bridge, but only one lane.

In the meantime, drivers are using alternate routes like Chester Pike and Stewart Avenue.

"With gas prices and all, it's not good for anybody. But it is what it is. You can't do anything about it," resident Rick Gibson said.

A hassle for drivers and small business owners like Becky Sciarrino's.

"We understand about the safety concerns of the bridge, obviously, that's important. But for a small business, suffering the loss of COVID that is absolutely going to affect sales of the store," Sciarrino's said. 

There's a lot of uncertainty right now.

Construction to replace both the north and southbound bridges were already scheduled to begin next year when this emergency closure happened.

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