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Residents respond to missing bridge

Community activism has proved worthwhile for Marcellus residents.

More than a dozen homeowners showed strength in numbers on Wednesday Feb. 25 when they arrived at the newly constructed North Street bridge and talked at length with members of the New York State Department of Transportation. The reason for the meeting was the missing pedestrian bridge, which was taken out during construction and not replaced.

"Our concern is the safety for our kids," said Kim Spitzer, a local resident who reached out to other residents and the DOT regarding the bridge. "It's unsafe for them to walk around the restaurant."

Since the bridge was completed in November, residents who were accustomed to using the small bridge as a bypass from Old North Street to North Street have had to walk around Daniel's Restaurant and cross the entire length of the bridge. The change in path isn't so much a nuisance as it is an increased danger for pedestrians.

However, the DOT is claiming that to cut a section of the rail out of the bridge and put the bypass in again would increase dangers for motorists. Regional Design Engineer George Doucette said a blunt end could pierce a vehicle if it leaves the roadway. The DOT's concerns came to fruition after a bridge engineer went to Marcellus and looked at the bridge.

Even with the speed limit on the bridge being 30 mph, Doucette said he would still be concerned about a car driving up onto the sidewalk.

Despite DOT's closing the small bridge, the bypass had been open for more than 40 years without incident. According to resident John Curtin, the pedestrian bridge was opened in 1965 when residents argued with DOT officials back then to keep it open and won.

"I think we know that's not that much of a safety issue," said Joe Durand, an engineer with TDK Engineering and Associates in Camillus and a resident of Marcellus.

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