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Harbor Bridge takes shape, business owners begin to feel project’s impacts

Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 19:32:48-04


As the new Harbor Bridge begins to take shape, some businesses along its route are feeling the project’s impact. Some of those businesses will have to relocate, while others can stay put.

Olszewski Stained Glass Studio and a gas station used to sit at the corner of Leopard and Crosstown, but now, what’s left behind is nothing but dirt. Those businesses were torn down because they were in the path of the new Harbor Bridge.

Right next door, Rod’s Auto Sales still sits in its place. The manager, who spoke to KRIS 6 News off camera, told us it was June 2017, when they got the news they would have to relocate. She says although the business, that’s been there for a decade, will be compensated, their hearts dropped when they got the news.

Meanwhile, just down the street sits G & L Detail. Flatiron Dragados, the construction company in charge of the Harbor Bridge project, told Gilbert Cortinas, the owner of the shop, a ramp would be built in front of his business.

“If I’m going to be completely sealed in, I’m going to need a big tall sign to let people know I’m still here,” said Cortinas.

Cortinas, who’s been in the business since the 80’s, has been told he does not have to relocate, but he was offered compensation. That’s because of the negative impact the bridge will have on his business. And he said what’s been offered, is not enough.

“Working with a company, it’s a very small amount,” said Cortinas. “(It’s) not even feasible for me to even think about that.”

Just across the street, Metro Ministries is also staying put despite the new bridge construction. The CEO of the nonprofit says they considered relocating, but need to fill a need in the community for the 7,000 people they help annually.

“There’s a huge impact on the people who come to us for service, their safety getting here, (and) their access to get here.”

Flatiron Dragados has been holding twice-a-year talks with all the businesses impacted by the bridge construction. The construction company has also held one-on-one discussions with all the individual businesses.