Longtime business owner says bridge work on 42nd slowing things down

Tim Parys owned two businesses in the area, and he didn’t know if he could hold out that long.
Businesses are struggling along South 42nd Street as bridge work at I-80 continues.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 4:45 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - This summer, the 42nd Street bridge was open and traffic was moving. Around 40,000 vehicles crossed it daily and passed businesses on S. 42nd St.

But the bridge was in need of repair, and in October, Omaha work crews shut it down to begin a year-long project to replace it.

Tim Parys owned two businesses in the area, and he didn’t know if he could hold out that long.

“I don’t know,” Parys said. “I’ve got enough funds for maybe six months if it’s not as bad.”

But Tim’s auto repair shop and convenience store didn’t make it that long.

Three months into the closure, Tim’s now-former employees tell me Tim didn’t see a profitable path with the bridge closing, so he sold the family business.

Mega Saver is the new owner of Tim’s former business. Right down the street, Larry Eckley’s auto broker shop is still open for business, but with the bridge work, business is slowing down.

“When I say slower, it’s probably down 60% business-wise,” Eckley said. “That has to do with the holidays as well as this time of year, and then hopefully it picks back up during tax time, but with 40,000 cars not coming by, it’s really affected us.”

Larry says a lot has changed along this stretch of 42nd Street. Some fast food places have shut down, others have adjusted their hours -- all this construction work is forcing traffic to redirect through neighborhoods in the area. This makes it tough for Mary Mohr to get in and out when she visits her parents on F Street.

“When we try to get out of the driveway and it takes forever to get out, especially at rush hour times, you know, morning, noontime, 3 to 5, sometimes even 6,” Mohr said.

Neighborhood streets are getting the traffic Larry and other business owners wish for, but the construction has changed the traffic flow approaching Eckley’s business.

“We’re in a cul-de-sac, so it’s a little different than having so much traffic,” Eckley said. “It’s a lot less traffic, accidents...overall, it’s just a lot slower.”

Larry says he’ll do more advertising and more work on social media to get the word out, and hopefully get more business to come through the door.

City officials say they’ve been working hard on the project when the weather allows. It’s only been three months, but the city believes it’s on schedule to have the bridge complete in the fall.