AFTON, Okla. — Grand Lake homeowners tell 2 Works for You their community is divided across Duck Creek. Many of them make the trip every day, going from one side to the other for things like work and groceries.
Business owners fear in the summer months many won't bother, and some estimate they could lose up to 75 percent of customers.
"We will drive it because we have to. Those that have an option will probably just opt to not make the drive or the trip whatsoever," said Joe Harwood with Arrowhead and Cherokee Yacht Club.
ODOT staff said although they're planning on six months they've given incentives to speed up the work. They tell 2 Works for You the department picked this time of year for faster construction, and didn't want to wait any longer after learning the bridge was functionally obsolete.
In the meantime, homeowners are worried about the extra 10 to 15 minutes for first responders.
"With a life threatening situation whether it be fire, wreck, whatever... that could be the difference between life and death for somebody," said Greg Knotts with Grand Meridian RV resort.
ODOT said the bridge is more than 100 years old and doesn't meet the safety standards of today. But business owners in the area are worried about the timing of the projects.
"The bridge has been the artery of connection. You pull that bridge out of there... I don't know what exactly is going to happen but there's going to be a lack of blood supply for a long period of time and will have a devastating effect. Some smaller businesses it may even put them out of business," Harwood said.
The Department of Transportation said with a bridge so old, an entire shutdown was necessary. For the businesses on the water, they fear blocked access will mean a fight to survive.
"We have lots of zero dollar days in the winter so we rely completely on what we can make during that time of the year," said Robin Carpenter with Harbors View Marina.
Ultimately, ODOT's goal is to increase safety and tourism long term.
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