Businesses Near Collapsed May Ave. Bridge Talk About Financial Toll

Monday, May 23rd 2016, 5:09 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

City crews over the weekend were able to remove the debris from the May Avenue Bridge that collapsed last week and get Northwest Expressway back open. But May Ave. remains closed, halting traffic to area businesses.

Atif Asal has owned the Mediterranean Deli on May just North of the Northwest expressway for 35 years.

“I’m the owner and the worker,” he laughed.

His customers are loyal thankfully. Because getting to his restaurant has become a challenge. 

“People call us from Norman or some other place, ‘We heard about the bridge. How can we get to you?’”

Asal is happy to steer them in the right direction because he believes business has slowed down since the bridge collapsed.

“Not sure 100 percent, but we think it affected us a little,” he said. “But I don’t know how much, I don’t have the statistic.”

Fast food restaurants and other retailers on the south side of Northwest Expressway however are more empathetic that business has fallen off after the bridge collapse.

Down Northwest Expressway, the Charcoal Oven offers up a “bridge special”, but says business hasn't suffered, especially since Northwest Expressway was back open quickly. Still the city says they don't know how long it will take to get traffic flowing on May again.

In the meantime, Asal says he will encourage customers to go the extra mile using the same method he's used for 35 years: “We do the best we can to serve them, keep them happy.”

If you need to get around the bridge, the city recommends using N.W. 63rd or N.W. 50th.