Hwy. 3 closure near Durango affecting local business

Updated: 09/02/2014 5:54 PM | Created: 09/02/2014 4:40 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Tuesday, a normally-busy stretch of State Highway 3 in Durango sat empty.

While usually almost 9,000 cars traverse the mile section from Santa Rita to US 550 every day, heading to work or school at Fort Lewis College, the only traffic Tuesday was Colorado Department of Transportation workers.

"We are bringing as much loose rock as we can," said Nancy Shanks, with CDOT.

Shanks says there have been five rock-fall related injuries in the area in the last ten years, and the department is using the time, now that tourists have mostly gone for the year, to close the road and mitigate the risk of more rocks coming down the side of the mountain.

In the meantime, business owners who work beyond the closure say they are feeling the hurt.

"We usually do 20 or 30 sandwiches, we were down to ten," said Robynn Moore, owner of Hot Tomatoes in the Highway 3 Plaza.

She says business has fallen off a lot since the road closed.

"We just need people to know that the highway is open for businesses."

Right now, Moore says she sees mostly regulars coming in for lunch, like Eric Beeson.

"This is one of my favorite spots for lunch, to meet my wife," Beeson said over a salad lunch with his wife. But, he told us, today's lunch date was not easy.

"It was about twice the drive to get here and get to lunch."

Moore says she hopes the food keeps them coming back for more

"It takes longer, but I like the place, so I'm willing to come,' said Beeson.

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