Chesapeake drivers may face detour around Centerville Turnpike Bridge this weekend; businesses affected by 6-month closure, COVID-19 need help


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Drivers in Chesapeake may be faced with a detour around the Centerville Turnpike Bridge this weekend.

The bridge reopened after six months in February, but in March — the city announced the bridge would close for a few weekends for additional work.

The weekend closures ended up being the least of nearby businesses’ worries. They were hit with an even bigger road block: the coronavirus pandemic.

Timing hasn’t always been on the side of Hot Rodders Cafe and other businesses near the Centerville Turnpike Bridge in Chesapeake.

RELATED: 3 months into Centerville Turnpike Bridge closure, businesses feeling the effect

“God bless America, it’s been rough … it really has,” said Amber Chaffin, owner of Hotrodders Cafe in Chesapeake near the bridge.

First, there was a six month closure at the bridge from August of last year to February of this year.
WAVY interviewed Chaffin right before the closure and at the three month mark of the closure.

Shortly after reopening, the city announced they would need to close the bridge for a few weekends for more maintenance work.

RELATED: Centerville Turnpike Bridge weekend closures leave businesses worried

The first weekend closure was in the beginning of March. Then the unthinkable happened, a pandemic.

“It opened February 15, and from February 15 … I think we started getting restrictions from the pandemic around the middle of March, so we only had a month of normal business,” Chaffin said.

This is before the coronavirus pandemic led them down a road of uncertainty.

“80 percent of our sales are dine in, so it has affected us greatly,” she said.

Now, Hot Rodders and other restaurants in most parts in the commonwealth are getting the green light. Their chairs will come down and their dining room is allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

“Pure excitment,” Chaffin said. “I didn’t even know until one of my regulars messaged me and was ‘hey you get to reopen on Friday. What are you going to have on special?!”

Phase two of reopening Virginia — coming at just the right time and offering some hope.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” she said. “I really do.”

The last time the Centerville Turnpike Bridge closed for a weekend in March, crews were able to reopen it a day ahead of schedule.

A spokesperson for the city said they’ll be keeping a close eye on the forecast to make sure bridge work can happen this weekend.

If it can, it’s scheduled to close Saturday at 5:30 a.m. and reopen at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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