The bridge on Bluff Street in west Derby will not be removed, according to a letter from the state Department of Transportation to Mayor Rich Dziekan.
Instead, the DOT will make repairs to the ailing bridge.
In 2016 the DOT hosted a public forum in Derby City Hall to talk about the bridge.
Basically the DOT called the two-lane bridge — which carries neighborhood traffic over Route 8 — old and in the way. They said they wanted to remove the bridge for about $1.15 million.
“The bridge is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. Its structural deficiency is primarily due to the deteriorated condition of the deck and substructure. The structure is functionally obsolete due to the minimum vertical clearance over Route 8,” according to a DOT project description.
But then the state budget crisis hit, and now the state is opting to repair the bridge and postpone removing it “indefinitely.”
“The Special Transportation Fund (STF) is facing insolvency in the next few years, and as a result, the DOT has had to postpone, curtail, table or eliminate roughly $4.3 billion dollars of projects, maintenance activities and services,” according to an email from Kevin Nursick, a DOT spokesman. “That is why the bridge is not getting replaced in totality, as opposed to a cheaper, interim solution.”
It’s good news for nearby residents in the area of Emmett Avenue, said Carmen DiCenso.
He’s the city’s economic development liason and the former president of the Derby Board of Aldermen.
While not many motorists use the bridge, removing it would have greatly disrupted the hyperlocal traffic pattern. The bridge has been there since 1959.
“People in the neighborhood will be happy to learn it’s staying,” DiCenso said.
In a statement, Mayor Rich Dziekan’s office also said the bridge news is good.
“He knows residents in the immediate area of the bridge were concerned when there was talk of the state removing the bridge. That project is dead for now, so those residents don’t have to worry about being inconvenienced,” according to an email from Andrew Baklik, the mayor’s chief of staff.
Nursick said the bridge could one day be back on the removal list.
“We will patch the deck tentatively sometime in May at an estimated cost of $800k,” Nursick said in an email. “The caveat here is that this is a short term fix, perhaps 8-10 years which means we will have to reconsider our options for this bridge again in the future.”