Rio Hondo Bridge Renovations Forcing Businesses to Make Changes
RIO HONDO – Some business owners said they worry they might not survive financially until renovations at the Rio Hondo lift bridge are completed.
The Texas Department of Transportation told CHANNEL 5 NEWS they are halfway done through construction. But local businesses said waiting much longer could mean the end for them.
Carlos Garza with Broken Well Liquor Store said Winter Texans have also helped kept his business afloat the past months.
“We’re king of limited here in Rio Hondo because the population is small. There’s a lot of open country here and really our best traffic is when the bridge is open but we’re fighting that issue right now,” he said.
Petra Losoya has worked at Pizza Express for 11 years. She said her boss is taking steps to stay afloat.
Losoya said her work schedule has gone from 45 hours to just 24 hours a week.
“They’ve taken away a lot of hours and it’s not the same because I still have to pay my bills, and my boss is thinking of selling because she doesn’t have the revenue coming in,” she said.
Losoya said she’s now cooking for parties at home to make up the extra income.
Mike’s Supermarket owner Jerry Hartzog said he also has to cut back on his employees’ hours. He said although it’s a tough decision, something must be done to survive the slow days.
He said he hasn’t seen some of his longtime customers in about six months.
“It’s very difficult because you are dealing with other people’s lives along with yourself, and you have to cut hours because you can’t afford to – there’s not enough profit to cover it and we’re going to be looking at cutting hours again in the next three weeks,” he said.
Hartzog is also the city commissioner. He said the city cannot control the timeline of the construction.
“Progress is progress. The bridge had to be repaired. When the bridge is operating it’s very beneficial to the city of Rio Hondo,” he said. “So, we just have to go through the pains and suffer what happens, and the suffer is the loss of income for to everybody involved – the businesses and the employees, both.”
Rio Hondo city manager Ben Medina said the target date to complete the project is around October.
TxDOT allotted a two-year timeline for the completion of the project.