BELPRE - Businesses and individuals are seeing an increased cost in time and money with the four-day closure of Ohio 7 at Moore's Junction.
"We're dealing with the closure," said Jeff Starner, owner of Merchants 5 Star trucking. "It's costing us time and money, but we're just one of the many companies and individuals having to make due with it."
CSX Transportation announced several weeks ago it would close the north and southbound lanes of Ohio 7 at the railroad crossings near Moore's Junction at the 17.85 mile marker. The closure began Tuesday with the roadway expected to reopen to traffic late Friday or early Saturday.
CSX employees will be replacing railroad tracks at the crossings during this time.
While the roadway is closed to traffic, motorists are encouraged to use Interstate 77 and U.S. 50 as detour routes. Drivers also can consider Hanna Road and River Lane and Ohio 550 as detours.
"I think it was advertised early enough that local people have been able to plan ahead to take different routes," said Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz.
Starner said that while his and other local drivers are aware of the closure, he has seen a number of truck drivers and others from out of the Mid-Ohio Valley not know of the detours until they get to the crossing.
"I've watched as a number of trucks and cars drive up to the closure and you can tell they dont know what to do," Starner said.
While many vehicles can take River Lane after turning onto Hanna Road, trucks with trailers cannot.
"There has already been one truck hung up on the high-centered (railroad) tracks along that route and I am sure others will get stuck there as the week goes on," Starner said. "The drivers have to be from out of the area because local drivers know they can't take that road."
Starner added that the extra cost the detour is adding to his business comes from the extra time it takes for his drivers to use the longer detour routes as well as the diesel gas it takes for the trucks to cover that distance.
"The fuel is money," he said. "If the route adds 12 or 15 miles to what the trucks were already driving that adds two or three more gallons of diesel at nearly $4 per gallon, which adds up quickly."
Messages left with the CSX offices in Florida are expected to be returned today as the media contact was unable to answer questions requested in emails Tuesday.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is helping with maintenance of traffic and signage for the detour.