By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — AuSABLE FORKS — A routine inspection showed deterioration to the Grove Road Bridge here, so the Essex County Department of Public Works has lowered the weight limit to 12 tons.
“We are using due diligence to do whatever it takes to get a higher load posting on this bridge as soon as possible,” County Assistant Civil Engineer Kirk Bassarab said in a news release.
The bridge has been assessed to determine what repairs are needed, and through Sunday, it will be fully open to vehicles under the 12-ton weight limit.
Monday, it will be closed to all traffic between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to allow workers to make the necessary repairs.
AuSable Forks Fire Chief Mike Cross and AuSable Forks Ambulance Chief Bill Minogue have been notified and have created an emergency plan of action, along with Town of Jay Public Works Director Chris Garrow, in the event a need for emergency use should arise.
“The safety of all of my constituents is of the utmost importance,” Garrow said in the release.
“After meeting with the engineers from Essex County, the decision to close the bridge, although a tough one, was determined to be the only way to ensure public safety.”
Jay Town Supervisor Randall Douglas said the bridge is scheduled for replacement, and they’ll make repairs so it’s safe until then.
“Town of Jay officials, emergency services personnel and Essex County officials involved have worked together in a rapid and diligent manner in order to ensure the safety of all bridge users,” he said in the release.
“This bridge, which is slated for total replacement within the next year, is a crucial connection for my residents to access local services and emergency care, and we will be working steadily until it can be completely and safely reopened.”
The bridge was one of many in Jay damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.