TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A pedestrian bridge in the Town of Tonawanda has been shut down for more than 9 months because town officials considered it unsafe, a decision which state transportation inspectors have just recently affirmed.
Now the town’s engineering department is researching what options town officials can take.
While the road passing under the bridge, Sheridan Drive, is a state maintained highway, the foot bridge is the sole responsibility of the Town of Tonawanda. So the cost of any of the options will be a driving factor.
Another important factor is whether the bridge would, in the end, comply with the law including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Right now, the bridge is an eyesore, badly in need of a coat of paint.
Town officials are assessing the cost of simply repairing the bridge and painting it; taking down the foot bridge and building a new one, or just tearing it down and forcing pedestrians to cross the 8 lanes of traffic at either Delaware Road or Colvin Avenue.
The town has brought in additional crossing guards to ensure school children safe passage, but that is only during school hours.
Deputy Town Supervisor John Bargnesi said a new bridge would be the costliest option, “For us to remove the bridge, build a new one, and make it ADA compliant, there is some land acquisition that has to take place to make the span longer, and the numbers climb very fast.”
Bargnesi said, the town board plans to consult with school officials before any plan goes forward, and that could happen as early as next week.