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M-63 bridge construction hurts some, could help others

ST. JOSEPH TWP., Mich. - After months of anticipation and weeks of delays a major bridge is out in Berrien County.

The M-63/Niles Street Bridge closed down Monday morning for repairs. According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, 10,000 cars travel over the bridge each day.

“I’ve had more people come in to ask about the detour than I’ve actually had customers today,” said Larry Hendrixson, owner of Uniformly Yours. The business is located next to the bridge.

Monday was day one of a long summer for Hendrixson. Marked detours route traffic around Uniformly Yours.

Henrixson said despite selling uniform apparel to a niche market, a good portion of the business he does is from walk-ins. “Over the years it’s been surprising the amount of people that are travelling through, see us and stop by.”

By midday Monday Hendrixson estimates his business was cut in half by the bridge closure. He made maps for visitors who are confused by the detours.

“They have to come by here hopefully,” said Roger Seeley, owner of Roger’s Foodland grocery store on Hollywood Road, less than a mile from the M-63 bridge.

Roger’s Foodland is on a marked detour and Seeley hopes the store capitalizes on increased traffic. “Time will tell,” he said. “Hollywood Road is busy and so is Glenlord (Road) and we’re right on the corner.”

“I don’t have a choice,” Hendrixson said of the construction. He said he thinks customers are going to wait to shop at his store. “They’re only going to come in when they have to. That hurts big time.”

The project is scheduled to finish by late-August. M-63 will reopen on July 20.

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