I-24 East closure brings new business to communities

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A mudslide that’s closed I-24 East near Whites Creek on Saturday is bad news for thousands of people, but it will bring new traffic through Ashland City.

“It’s a golden opportunity for us, with us being in Ashland City we don’t get the eyes and the hype that Nashville restaurants do. For us, this is a good chance for new people to stop in and try our food,” said Mitchell Kirby, the General Manager of Sidelines Grill. 

Kirby said he and his staff are already preparing for an uptick in business.

“We want to show a good first impression to all of our new customers,” said SueAnn Street, a bartender at Sidelines Grill. 

Although both Kirby and Street admit that they won’t be immune to the traffic headache. Kirby added that his Monday morning commute to the restaurant was over twice as long. 

“Normally takes me about 15 minutes to get here, took me about 45 this morning.” 

Street said her commute was longer as well. 

“Well it took me an hour and a half, and we was just crawling…all the way up here to the bypass.” 

Predicated congestion has also caused worry for some parents. 

“To get her to school tomorrow is going to be rough,” said Jennifer Smith, parent of a second-grader. 

Smith said the heavy traffic was also talked about on social media. 

“It’s been all over Facebook all day, everybody’s been upset about having to get them to school on time tomorrow.” 

TDOT has said they hope to know by Wednesday when the road will re-open, but the amount of debris suggests it will be closed for at least a week. 

In the meantime, Kirby said he’ll be focusing on the way his business can help others. 

“I understand people are going to have frustrations, and I hope they realize there is a place they can stop in on the way home, come in and enjoy good food.” 

News 2’s “Severe Weather Awareness Day” will dig deeper into how families, schools and businesses are working to be storm ready with special reports this Wednesday.

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