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From businesses to libraries, Fairport prepares for bridge closure

August 20, 2019 08:29 AM

FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) – If you drive or walk across the lift bridge on North Main Street in Fairport, those days are numbered... for now.

Next month, the bridge will be closed for renovations at least through 2020, as the New York State Department of Transportation will begin renovation work.

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Right by the bridge, people at the Fairport Public Library have literally been counting the days down, as they have placed a large sign inside the building, complete with an adjustable countdown.

Library Director Carl Gouveia says some people visiting the library did not know the bridge was this close to closing, and so the sign was a way to help educate.

But Gouveia says the library is prepared for the closure, and the place is putting a pause on return fees while the bridge is closed.

"That is what we're hoping will be another enticement to keep people coming to the library," Gouveia said

Gouveia is not the only person prepared. Just down the street, Scott Donnelly of Donnelly's Public House says detoured traffic may bring more cars past his building on Water Street. And he points to a previous bridge closure ten years ago as a marking point.

"Here's a great opportunity for new people to go by Donnelly’s that may have just gone up 250 and never found us," Donnelly said

Data from the DOT shows Route 250, which includes the lift bridge, sees roughly 10,000 cars on an average daily basis.

While they are prepared, both Donnelly and Gouveia say closing the bridge off will cut that traffic and make it harder to grab a book or a bite to eat, potentially cutting down on customers.

But they say the village officials and Department of Transportation are helping to soften the blow.

Donnelly says the DOT has given business owners plenty of warning in advance, and the village has planned to provide a shuttle to move around. 

"This is all gonna happen whether we want it or not, so they're being proactive about helping us get through it," Donnelly said.

And it's not just businesses who have had to prepare. Fairport Police Chief Sam Farina says area first responders have coordinated to keep what he says are among the fastest response times in Monroe County.

“We look at this as an opportunity to really showcase our department, and how good we are to adapt to anything that’s thrown our way,” Farina said.

And if you think the village will close alongside the bridge, both Donnelly and Gouveia say to think again.

To learn more about the DOT’s Lift Bridge Reconstruction project, click here.

Credits

Andrew Hyman

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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