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Business report big losses during I-80 Labor Day weekend closure

A major repaving project on westbound Interstate 80 over the Labor Day weekend is taking its toll on more than just drivers. 

It’s also been hard on business which depend on visitors from the East side of the Carquinez bridge and would normally be making a lot of money over the holiday. 

Inside the Crockett bar The Dead Fish, the ambiance Saturday was unlike previous Labor Day weekends with only a handful of customers present. 

“This is normally our third or fourth best weekend of the year,” said Peter Demarest, the bar’s general manager. “It’s now going to be our worst weekend of the year.”

Caltrans closed all the westbound lands from Interstate 780 in Vallejo to Highway 4 near Hercules for repaving last Thursday night. Since then, Demarest said it’s been more or less the same every night: empty tables everywhere. 

Customers who might have come from the East are saying no to the hours-long detour and either cancel or just don’t show up for reservations. 

“We were down 75% yesterday. Today, for lunch, I would say we’re down about the same,” Demarest said. 

He expected the final dinner receipts Saturday to be about 25% of what it would normally be. 

Demarest said the project is also causing problems for his employees. Most of those who live East of the bridge are staying home to avoid the long detour. And those who do come in to work have to leave early because there aren’t enough customers. 

The business has already lost a lot of money. 

“I’d say at least a hundred thousand over the weekend,” Demarest said. “Maybe more.”

Caltrans has justified carrying out the project over the holiday weekend, saying that westbound traffic is usually down during this period. 

“The optimal time to do it is on a holiday weekend when people are actually out of town,” said Vince Jacala, the spokesman for Caltrans District 4. “So we’re trying to get all of this work in during the four or five day Labor Day weekend, and trying to do it when there’s less traffic going westbound.”

The Dead Fish is keeping track of its losses and is hoping to recoup at least some of that lost revenue from Caltrans.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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