Updated: 01/28/2014 5:21 PM
Created: 01/28/2014 4:44 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri
Thousands of people use it every day to travel back and forth to work, school, and the grocery store. But part of the Bay Bridge remains shut down. Many people have been asking why it is taking so long to repair the bridge. Now Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks wants answers.
The New York State Department of Transportation says it needs to make repairs, but the amount of time this project has taken, along with what seems to be a lack of progress has people asking is it safe?
County Executive Maggie Brooks is one of the 65,000 people who use the bridge every day. The construction has been going on since October. Cones are still up blocking one lane on each side. Brooks said recently dozens of people have stopped her, wanting to know if the bridge safe? That’s why she wrote a letter to the Department of Transportation to find out what’s going on.
Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive, said, “What is the problem on the bridge and what is the time frame for fixing it? A few years ago, the bridge underwent major repairs, in fact, most of bridge was closed to traffic, so I think people are looking and thinking, ‘Okay, we went through all this two years ago, did they not fix the problem? Is it a new problem?’ I really think it does beg the question, is the bridge safe?”
News10NBC took Brooks’s questions to the Department of Transportation. They say the bridge is 100 percent safe for drivers. The outer lanes have been closed since October after an inspection showed part of a metal beam, supporting the bridge, was slightly bent. The DOT says they have been taking measurements and in a few weeks, will be re-enforcing the beams to prevent further damage. But they want to make it clear, the bridge is safe. They say if it wasn’t, it would be closed. The construction they say is preventative.
Lori Maher, NYS Department of Transportation, said, “The beauty of bridge construction is you have always work on it. Just like a car, that means when you get it sometimes you have to take it to the shop and get the oil changed, you want to take good care of the tires, that sort of thing, and there are multiple components to a structure. So we might spend a lot of money on a project to paint, and another day, we might work on the concrete and another project on another day because it is such a huge project and such a huge bridge, you will see us out there a lot.”
News10NBC is waiting for bridge inspection reports to be released to us. Maggie Brooks will meet with DOT officials soon. She says this isn’t about scaring people, just keeping everyone informed.