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Greenwich Bridge Closure May Hurt Business

Maurice Zipata, owner of LaBella’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Riverside, is facing another obstacle for his business: a planned second closure of the bridge over the Mianus River next to the store.

“Customers are going to avoid me and go someplace else,” said Zipata, who said the store has been at its Greenwich location on 340 Palmer Hill Road for 25 years. “And that’s business you never get back. That’s a big concern. I can’t fight it. It’s going to happen. It’s just going to affect my business tremendously.”

The Board of Selectmen voted Wednesday to grant a temporary two-week closure of the Palmer Hill Road bridge from July 11 to July 22. The closure will result in road detours away from businesses in the area.

“This store’s had a lot of obstacles: The previous owner was stealing from the community and then the road detour in the fall. … I’ve got all these strikes against me and now this,” said Zipata, who has owned the store since September and has been in the business for 21 years. “I’m just trying to get the store back up and running, so the only way this business can survive is with the support of the community.”

This work is part of the town’s rehabilitation of the bridge. Making improvements to the bridge's arch is the fourth stage of its repair. The process will require putting down clean concrete pavement, installing membrane waterproofing, installing bituminous overlay and installing permanent roadway striping.

The selectmen unanimously approved the request for a two-week closure with a provision that would require the Department of Public Works to make an effort to cut repair time.

First Selectman Peter Tesei that the project's impact on local businesses is a recurring concern. Tesei asked whether work hours could be extended to limit the closure. Representatives from the Department of Public Works said the work could not be done at night because costs would double for overtime work. They assured the selectmen that everything possible would be done to limit the time needed for the project. Some aspects of the repair will need time, however, such as the concrete, which requires three days to cure before traffic goes on it.

“I’ve met with several businesses in the North Mianus area, and they’re not happy with the road closure,” said Sam Romeo, community activist and host of the WGCH-AM weekly radio show, "Greenwich Matters." He said that expediting the construction process would be appreciated.

During the road’s closure, Zipata said he can deliver anywhere in Greenwich. “If they can’t get to us, I’ll do whatever I can to get to them. I hope the community can rally behind businesses here. I need their support.”

How will the bridge closure affect you and the rest of the community? Comment below or send responses to ahelhoski@mainstreetconnect.us

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