- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking federal aid for businesses in two Oklahoma towns that have been affected after a state bridge connecting the two communities needed to be closed for repairs.

Fallin is asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to make an economic injury declaration to allow business owners in McClain and Cleveland counties to apply for federally subsidized loans.

The 76-year-old James C. Nance Memorial Bridge, which connects the towns of Lexington and Purcell, has been closed since Jan. 31 - resulting in a 45-minute, one-way trip between the two communities.

Fallin says several businesses in Lexington are reporting up to a 50 percent decline in sales as a result of the shutdown. She also says some shops may permanently go out of business.