DETOUR WORRIES: Grand Avenue Bridge Closure

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Grand Avenue Bridge is just days away from closing for 7 months, while construction crews rebuild the often-used bridge.

The True Value Hardware on Grand has already cut back on its spring inventory, anticipating a significant dip in sales because of the construction.

“We’re thinking it’s going to have an effect on us definitely,” said Joe Bergeson, the Assistant Manager, “a lot of traffic going down Grand Avenue that’s going to be cut off from us.”

True Value employees are making sure to tell their customers they are still going to be there. They are even handing out maps with alternate routes on them to make sure the customers still come through the doors.

“We’re kind of afraid to that people might get used to not using Grand anymore and might skip it later on when things go back to normal,” said Bergeson.

Des Moines city engineers explained they know it’s going to be an inconvenience for businesses and drivers, but they say it’s an important one.

“The type of work that needs to be done... it's really at the point the bridge needs to be completely replaced instead of just repaired,” said Jeb Brewer, the City Engineer for Des Moines, “We can’t live without the bridge, so we need to build a new bridge.”

The city tried to start the project last year, but it was delayed because they first had to move some utilities. Officials say now that it was done earlier, the project will be 4 weeks shorter than it would have been had they started last year.

Some nearby business owners, say the damage done by that “false alarm” of construction might not be worth it. “A lot of people learned it was closed and thought it was closed. It’s noticeably slower down here now than it was a couple years ago,” said Bergeson.

But not everyone is worried about the coming closure and detour; The Sands says it will lead people right to the front door.

“Getting in and out will actually be easier with the bridge closed, because Grand can be a problem,” said Mike Sprecher, the owner of The Sands on Grand, where many volleyball leagues play in the summer, “so with Grand ending at the volleyball court driveway that will be easier for them, so there will be good and bad with it.”

“It will be a little inconvenience, but hopefully there will be another 100 years of useful bridge use out of this,” said Brewer.

During the closure traffic will be detoured from 63rd Street, to University Avenue, to 56th Street and back to Grand Avenue. The plan is to have 3 lanes open by September and all lanes open in November.