The Rogers Road bridge is set to reopen Tuesday, to the relief of drivers who use the road to travel between Wake Forest and Rolesville.
For Karrie Mathues, owner of the Dairy Depot ice cream shop, the bridge can’t open soon enough. Mathues and some other business owners in the area have seen fewer customers since construction began in June.
“We’re counting down the days,” Mathues said.
Crews with Blythe Construction have been rebuilding the bridge, which dates back to the 1970s and is located near Heritage middle and elementary schools. During construction, drivers have been taking a nearly 5-mile detour.
To celebrate the bridge reopening, the town and the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce will host an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Heritage Pointe Shoppes at 3309 Rogers Road. The celebration will feature raffles, face painting, live music, a bounce house and food trucks.
The new five-lane bridge is part of a $2.6 million state Department of Transportation project. Crews installed sidewalks and widened a roughly one-mile stretch of Rogers Road from Forestville Road to South Franklin Street.
Since the bridge is now taller, Wake Forest plans to build a 2.4-mile section of greenway that will pass underneath it and run along Smith Creek, connecting Heritage Middle School to existing greenway past the bridge.
Joseph Leli, who owns Leli’s Diner with his wife, said business is down by about 7 percent.
“We missed a lot of the takeout (orders) from people going home to Heritage because they have to go around,” he said.
Heavy rains from Hurricane Matthew last month washed out part of Rogers Road between Heritage Gates Drive and Hobblebush Way, but the bridge didn’t sustain damage, according to DOT.
The stretch of road has been closed, and some buried pipes are exposed.
A fabricated pipe is set to arrive next week, according to a news release from Wake Forest. Once the pipe arrives, a contractor will assemble it, rebuild the road bed and coordinate the installation of utilities.
DOT officials expect the road will reopen after Thanksgiving.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi