One year ago, Jesse Drake moved her coffee shop into a cozy spot in the complex at 245 N. Main St. in Spring Grove.

The location, she figured, was perfect -- frontage along the main route between York and Hanover with about 22,000 cars passing by daily.

"I don't know what it's going to be cut down to, but I can imagine it'll be drastic," said Drake, co-owner of A Little Bit of Heaven. "We have so many people who come in and say, 'Oh, we were just passing through.'"

It's tough to stumble upon her little shop -- and others on the main drag in town -- without the Route 116 bridge over the Codorus Creek.

The structurally deficient throughway, built in 1923, will be closed for 10 months starting in May as the state Department of Transportation works on a $3.8 million job to repair it, said local PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny.

Those traveling east on Route 116 will be detoured onto Lehman Road and then north on Stoverstown Road.

Westbound traffic will flow onto Old Hanover Road, then south on Jacobs Mill Road.

The roundabout detour, Drake worries, might isolate her growing business from a key customer base -- the walk-in.

"We'll lose all of that," she said, "plus the guys from the mill who can't use the bridge. We spoke to several of them already, and to stop and get a cup of coffee on their break isn't going to be feasible."

Originally, PennDOT offered to keep the 135-foot-long bridge open, reconstructing one half of the structure at a time, Penny said.

But surrounding municipalities and the Glatfelter paper mill -- split in half by Route 116 -- asked for the project to be expedited.Many of the site's more than 950 employees use the bridge to come and go from work, said spokesman Bill Yanavitch.

Robin Jones-Donivan, manager of A Little Bit of Heaven, makes a chi tea. Co-owner Kim Hersh worries that a long bridge replacement process will cut off her
Robin Jones-Donivan, manager of A Little Bit of Heaven, makes a chi tea. Co-owner Kim Hersh worries that a long bridge replacement process will cut off her traffic flow of 22,000 cars per day that passes by the Main Street business. ( YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL )

"I can imagine it will be an issue for some of our personnel that will come in and use that bridge, but I'm also equally confident that Glatfelter people will be supportive and understanding for the bridge repairs," he said.

Glatfelter is constructing a temporary bridge over the Codorus for emergency vehicles and the 300 trucks that travel the route daily, bringing supplies to the paper mill.

Detouring these vehicles would cost the Spring Grove-based paper maker between $150,000 and $300,000 per month, he said.

"This is something for the long term," he said of the bridge repairs. "It's going to benefit everybody in the community."

Jim Senft gets it. He knows the bridge needs a tune-up.

He's seen it fall into disrepair since 1976, the year his family bought the Myer's Dairy Bar at 267 N. Main St. and changed the name to the Papertown Dairy Bar and Restaurant.

"I understand," he said. "That bridge has been in bad shape for years. I wish they'd work around the clock on it. I imagine they could do it in a lesser period of time."

Penny said this isn't possible.

"What keeps you from expediting this too much is that you're dealing with concrete," he said. "You're building foundations and abutments. You have to wait for concrete to cure before you can go onto the next stage."

The Papertown, Senft said, also is a popular summer stop for those traveling along Route 116 to tour Gettysburg and visit other attractions, such as Lake Codorus and Hanover Shoe Farms.

Kim Hersh, co-owner of A Little Bit of Heaven, makes up a lunch board to place along Main Street in Spring Grove. Hersh worries that a long bridge
Kim Hersh, co-owner of A Little Bit of Heaven, makes up a lunch board to place along Main Street in Spring Grove. Hersh worries that a long bridge replacement process will cut off her traffic flow of 22,000 cars per day. ( YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL )

Business from hungry travelers could decrease, he said. But he isn't worried about the loyal following of diners who make his restaurant part of their daily routine.

Others don't have that following yet.

Famous Hot Weiner -- a York County chain -- moved in next to A Little Bit of Heaven in April.

The business, with two other locations in Hanover, serves favorites such as hot dogs with homemade chili sauce.

"It's not going to be easy," partner George Keriazes said. "You don't know what to expect. Is it going to keep more people in town? Are we going to be able to survive with just them? . . . We're all worried, and we're going to do the best we can to get through it."

Also of interest

· P.H. Glatfelter I to George Glatfelter II: 5 generations of Spring Grove papermakers