Business owners plead for swift repairs to malfunctioning Hog's Back Swing Bridge

Many people driving along Hog's Back have been forced to turn around once they get to the Hog's Back Swing Bridge because the crossing was closed.

The bridge reopened on Friday after being closed for a week due to a malfunction. The National Capital Commission (NCC) is citing a malfunction with the hydraulic system that needs to be repaired.

"The road is closed," said one driver who just had to make a U-turn at the closure. "The bridge is closed. I was just surprised."

The week long closure caused frustration with not only drivers but also business owners like John Hannon.

"How do you staff for it? How do you prepare to understand what the flow of traffic is going to be like? You can't," said the Oil Changers owner.

In front of the auto maintenance shop located near the bridge, there's some new signage—a plea to the NCC to fix the bridge for good. After a year of being closed and having to close again due to repairs, Hannon has had enough.

"Build a bridge and they will come. When you shut a bridge, they will go," said Hannon.

The NCC closed the bridge in 2019 for nearly a year for rehabilitation work. The goal was to extend the bridge's life for another 20 to 30 years; however, just last month, the bridge had to close again because of operational issues.

“A number of business owners tell me they lose up to 40 per cent of their business when the bridge is closed. This absolutely has an impact on them,” said River ward Coun. Riley Brockington. “Annual maintenance is important but not on a brand new bridge that was just reopened last year.”

In a statement, the NCC says repair work and troubleshooting are ongoing. Until the issue is resolved, the bridge will be kept in the open position to allow for boat traffic then closed at night outside of navigation hours.

The bridge, built in 1976, carries between 18,000 and 26,000 vehicles a day and Hannon wants to see that volume of traffic back on the road.

"I hope they get it fixed as quickly as possible and that it's for good," he said.

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