(WPRI) — Businesses in South Dartmouth are eagerly awaiting the summer not only for the warm weather and increased profit, but also for the re-opening of the Padanaram Bridge.
The bridge connects Gulf Road to Padanaram Village, which is filled with local shops, restaurants and residences.
For nearly two years, the bridge has been off limits to drivers, because of an $8.27 million construction project.
“We opened in July of 2016, which is the same exact week the bridge closed,” General Manager of Farm and Coast Market in Padanaram Village said.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials told Eyewitness News the bridge is expected to re-open on June 11, which is a date that employees and customers, who often make the long trip around, can hardly wait for.
“It’s about an eight minute to ten minute process to get around from the southern part of Dartmouth, the Westport area,” Cote said.
“I live on the other side of the bridge, so instead of about a 13 minute commute, it will be about two,” Customer Erin McHugh said.
Cote believes the detour through Dartmouth was enough to drive some customers away.
“We’re anticipating that business will be much stronger,” Cote said.
McHugh said she looks forward to the shorter commute.
“We can’t wait to go back and forth with ease,” McHugh said.
Cote says now, many shops are prepared for a big boom in business, and because the bridge closure has been such a burden for many.
“The owner of our business is very excited about throwing a party, so now that we have an actual date we’re going to go to the town and ask how we can plan that,” Cote said.
Massachusetts DOT officials said this year’s extreme weather, including the March Nor’easter, delayed progress for crews. However, the project is still set to finish on the same date it was originally scheduled for.