Looking to the end of the road(work)
By Casey Lessard
The end is near for Crediton’s only retailer, and its owners hope that end refers to construction on the town’s only bridge and main road, not the end of their 15-year business.
“There are no guarantees,” says Diane Faubert when asked if the business will survive to the January bridge repair completion date. “We don’t know. We’re going to try.”
Jordy’s Gas Bar, one of the few businesses in the village, has been hit hard by three years of road construction caused by sewer installation; this year’s discovery that the bridge had a crack was the straw that threatens to break Jordy’s back.
“I’ve taken a leave of absence from my bus,” Faubert says, “I’ve laid off my (three part-time) employees, I’ve unplugged a couple of fridges and freezers to cut back. We’ve cut back our hours because there just isn’t enough business. It’s pretty tough.”
“We became aware in late 2006 that it’s the same type of bridge that collapsed in Laval, Quebec,” says Acting Director of Public Works Dave Laurie, who notes they’ve been keeping tabs on the bridge since then. Repairing the bridge was Huron County’s least expensive option, estimated at $430,000.
“The bridge was built in the mid-50s, and it was a design that was popular, the cantilever beam design. We had done some repairs earlier in 2006 to address other issues, and early this summer realized there’s a crack in one of the beams critical to supporting the bridge. It probably was a flaw in the bridge from the time it was built. Luckily it’s the only one of that type we have in Huron County.”
Traffic is rerouted around Crediton at Parr Line until next month. Consolidated Sign & Lighting is at the Parr Line end of Crediton’s main street, and its lit sign is visible from the detour.
“It’s not an issue for us,” says Consolidated’s Larry Eveland. “I’d rather see it happening rather than not happening.
“We’re just lucky our bridge isn’t the one that collapsed and killed somebody. It had to be fixed before someone got hurt.”
The discovery of the crack is important to public safety, but an unlucky case of bad timing for Faubert, whose business has already suffered from construction that deters traffic en route to Grand Bend and the Motorplex.
““We used to get a lot of Motorplex traffic, but they don’t want to go over rough roads,” Faubert says. “After three years of this, I don’t have any financial savings or extra money to tie me through. I have another month and a half to go. I’m taking it day by day and hoping that I’ll survive this.”