To drop off a furniture order to a longtime Lexington customer on Saturday, Phillips drove north on Interstate 35 to State Highway 9 in Norman and then back south on U.S. 77. The trip took two hours.
“This is costing me,” Phillips said.
“I'm not real happy, and I'm concerned I could lose customers over it. It could really cost all of us in the long run.”
Across snowy Main Street, Kathy Grider was putting the finishing touches on Sam Stark's haircut Monday afternoon. Stark and his wife, Jo, usually visit Purcell on Tuesday to get her hair done. Because of the long drive from their Lexington home and the impending winter storms, Grider opened the shop for them Monday.
Long hair is the least of the Stark's concerns though.
Saturday, his wife ran out of the pain medication she'd been prescribed after a recent medical procedure.
Sam Stark, 81, had no other option than to make the long drive to the Purcell Municipal Hospital.
“They need to get it fixed and quick,” Stark said. “We always said how old that bridge was and that we thought any day it would kill someone. But why did they wait so long?”
Lexington resident James Bebout said he's not sure whether state officials really are aware of how much the loss of the bridge will affect the community.
Bebout, 54, said he has many friends that probably will lose their jobs or have to relocate because it will cost them more to commute to Purcell everyday than they earn at their mostly minimum-wage jobs.
“There is no reason why it should've gotten this bad,” Bebout said. “It is the state's job to provide us safe access instead of shutting down. They are ruining lives.”