Bridge repair disrupts New Jersey businesses

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After almost four decades, John Shedd is closing his business. (WPVI)

For 37 years John Shedd has run a pottery studio on Route 518 in the tiny borough of Rocky Hill, just north of Princeton.

But after almost four decades, he's closing his business.

"I lost all the foot traffic that I had. My business is off about 60%," Shedd said.

Shedd's business is the victim of an ongoing bridge repair right down the road that has cut the flow of customers to his store.

"I've suffered through three floods and made that. That wasn't any problem. But you shut a bridge for 6 to 8 months, that's too much," Shedd said.

The repairs were supposed to take about a month, which he could have survived. But over the summer, Governor Chris Christie ordered the shutdown of all projects as part of the political fight surrounding the Transportation Trust Fund.

The project didn't get restarted until late November.

"30% of my business comes from the holidays and that's the last three months of the year," Shedd said.

He's not alone.

Because of the long bridge closure, Lisa Boyles, a coffee shop clerk, no longer works every day.

"The owner had to cut back and so I come in now just to help out once in a while. So that's definitely impacted me," Boyles said.

"It had a huge effect, not just on the businesses, but also on the residents," Councilman Bill Dawson told Action News.

Although he's had as many as six employees over the years, right now Shedd's pottery store is a one-man operation; he's working hard to create what he can before he sells and reopens at a new location.

"They're going to take me out of a studio one day with my boots on someplace. It's just not going to be here," Shedd said.

Shedd hopes to sell his studio by the end of March and move it to Hopewell.

The bridge is supposed to reopen in the next couple months, but John Shedd says that will be too late for him.

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n.j. newsbusinessGovernor Chris Christie
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