"We're not like anybody else; when someone calls, they've got to have us, so we've been keeping someone over there," Mallory said. "If you wreck in the middle of the road, you're not going to want to wait 20 minutes for a wrecker to get there."
He said Abbott's has absorbed the cost of the return trip during the bridge construction, but the situation has been worse for gas stations and other business with direct competition.
"We didn't add a cost for the extra miles. That's just the cost of doing business," he said.
Across the road, Sam Hodroge, who has owned the Sunoco gas station in Nitro for 23 years, said business has never been worse.
"Business is down by about 40 percent," he said. "We had quite a few customers from St. Albans, plus the community businesses sort of depend on the traffic count. If we lose that traffic count, we lose business. The more cars that come across that bridge, the more business we have."
Hodroge, like many of his neighbors, has relied on the through traffic along the bridge to bolster his business. And like other businesses in the area, he said all he can do is wait.
"I'm just waiting to see what the economy does," he said. "I hope to at least be able to go back to the way it was."Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.