Businesses still feeling impact of I-10 bridge damage from Imelda

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- TxDOT announced Friday that permanent repairs on the I-10 bridge at the San Jacinto River could be complete by the first quarter of 2020, which is six months from now.

The bridge was damaged when loose barges during Imelda struck several support pillars. A sonar image shows one of the embedded pillars leaning underwater.

The reaction from those who live in the area was simply, "that's a long time."

Barge crash at I-10 bridge leaves residents stuck at home

What had been the eastbound bridge now handles two-way traffic. The westbound bridge remains closed, with crews working on repairs. The damaged pillars will be replaced.

The closure has impacted traffic in the area, and businesses are feeling the impact.

RELATED: I-10 bridge over San Jacinto River reopens after several barges hit it

At Four Corners BBQ, owner Donald Prejean said some of the customers who were cut off from the restaurant have returned.

Business, he said, is still down and at this point, he doesn't yet know how much.

"I'm gonna ride it out and see," he said.

An employee at a nearby gas station and convenience store said their business is down by several thousand dollars a day.

Traffic nightmare continues on I-10 bridge over San Jacinto River

At a truck stop in Baytown, there were stories of accidents in the area because of cars cutting through the parking lot, trying to avoid the gridlock.

There are also stories of truckers paid by the number of deliveries, rather than by the hour, which means they're paying the price of the delays.

"It costs us $150 or $200 a day depending on where you're going or coming," said Labasie Jones. "Companies are calling us and asking when we're going to deliver. Customers are wanting their products. I'm on I-10. That's all I can say."

It's the second time this year that a barge collision has closed the bridge. Donald Prejean has been serving up BBQ for a while now, and while this construction may impact his business for months to come, he has a vow.

"I'm not going anywhere," Prejean said.

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.