B y Jaime Thomas
Everyone from sheriffs to the fire department to an engineer turned out Thursday night for an informational meeting about the pending closure of the Truthville Bridge.
Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks said construction is expected to finish by April 15 or 20 of the Lower Turnpike Bridge, in North Granville. This one-lane bridge, which has been closed for at least six years, will then be open for passenger vehicles only.
Kubricky Construction will then begin rebuilding the Truthville Bridge, the construction of which is expected to last for about six months, until October, Hicks said.
As the Lower Turnpike has a 3-ton weight limit, larger vehicles will have to take a detour of about 10 miles to Route 22A and DeKalb Road. Hicks said the only businesses that should be affected by this alternate route are M & B Auto Salvage, Western Slate and Wing Truck and Trailer.
However, emergency services to the area will be affected to a degree.
“It’s going to put a big damper to fire response on that side,” said Scott McCullen, North Granville Hose Co. chief.
While he said he understands both sides of the issue and is glad the county is taking care of the bridges, he thinks the closure will put emergency services in a pinch. There will now be a 10 to 15 minute response time, and Granville will rely heavily on mutual aid from such area companies as Whitehall.
If a dire situation arises, though, McCullen said he’ll do what is necessary.
“If it’s life and death, we’ll have a truck there in reasonable time,” he said.
Both the county and the town will post several signs on each end of the Lower Turnpike Bridge warning drivers of the weight and height limit. The town will post some at either end of the road, as well, so large trucks won’t have to maneuver a turn in a tight space if they don’t realize the bridge is not open for them.
Officials have also asked the Washington County Sheriffs to monitor traffic on the bridge to make sure no one passes over it who shouldn’t.
“We want to make sure it lasts as long as it can,” Hicks said of the new bridge.
He said the double project has been six to eight years in the making, and the vast majority of funding has come from the federal and state government. Washington County paid the remaining 5 percent and the town did not have to pay anything.