Monday, July 28, 2014

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Fairport Lift Bridge to Close for Repairs

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Rochester: Fairport Lift Bridge to Close for Repairs
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If you regularly drive Route 250 through the village of Fairport, get ready to take a detour. A main bridge in the village will close for well over a month.

In Fairport, it is the main route through the village, to the tune of 12,000 cars a day.

"It's extremely busy."

The lift bridge over the Erie Canal is also nearly 100 years old, and in need of repair.

"The bridge isn't unsafe at this point, but the work has to be done," said Fritz May, Fairport mayor.

"The bridge has been showing signs of wear and tear," said Lori Maher, spokesperson with the state Department of Transportation.

The DOT's plan for fixing Fairport's historic bridge comes with a price.

"We're going to be closing the bridge down to all vehicles."

Beginning January 21st, all north-south traffic using Route 250 through Fairport will be diverted.

"They'll go in and really just give it a thorough upgrade."

Maher says the problem is with steel under the bridge's deck. It's deteriorating. Once the bridge is closed, workers will replace it.

"There's not an immediate need to get out there but we want to keep the bridge in a state of good repair and open a long time, so we're going to take this opportunity to do the work and be out of your hair as soon as we can."

According to the DOT, the bridge will remain closed for six weeks, though the project could take a little more or a little less, depending on the weather. And there will be plenty of detour signs posted all around the village.

"When it's closed and you see the amount of traffic that goes up and down Main Street, it's going to be an imposition for a lot of people," May said.

May says Main Street businesses have already been planning, telling customers about the impending closure. The bridge will stay open to foot and bicycle traffic. The timing of the repairs coincides with Fairport's Winterfest, which will include hockey on the Erie Canal. Still,

May says the timing of the repairs makes sense.

"Fortunately, it's winter and a little bit slower time in the village, so the timing is probably better than summer."

Large scale repairs to the historic lift bridge are scheduled to take place three years from now. In the meantime, with a little readiness, May expects this road bump to go smoothly.

"Most people, if they know in advance, will plan around it, and they'll live with it," he said. "We seem to be pretty adaptable."

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