People who drive through Bridgeport have been counting the days until November, when the Marion Street Bridge project was due to be complete.
But now, ODOT says it won’t be finished until next spring.
Both the citizens and ODOT speak out on this highly emotional situation.
“Bridgeport is usually a bottleneck,” said Allan Blanchard of Bridgeport. “It will be worse. I don’t know whey they put dates on things when they’re not going to meet them.”
“There’s so much traffic here now that you have to sit and wait to get out no matter where you go,” said James Robert Myers Sr. of Bridgeport. “You can’t walk across the street, you’ve got to run across the street. It’s just terrible, that’s all.”
ODOT Engineer Jim Graham says the weather trumps all human endeavors.
“June was really wet, and we lost an awful lot of productive time,” explained Graham.
He said the Marion Street Bridge will actually re-open in mid-December.
It’s just the eastbound on-ramp that won’t be done until spring.
The fact that the bridge, with all its detours and delays, is being done at the same time as the Route 40 project, has people shaking their heads.
“Well, what I think is that they started too many projects at one time,” said Blanchard. “And we’ve had nothing but barrels, nowhere to park, business is terrible. And I just think they made a mistake scheduling both things at the same time.”
“I can’t even use my garage because no sooner do I back out than I’m right in traffic,” said Myers.
But Jim Graham understands.
He said the state dictates which projects are funded and when.
“Believe me, it caused problems for ODOT too,” Graham noted. “We really didn’t want to have to do this but we had no choice.”
And he knows these projects are highly emotionally charged, with lack of parking, and business owners saying they’re going under.
“It’s a major intersection,” noted Graham. “We understand that. It connects State Route 7, it connects the Bridgeport area, we understand that. But that bridge had to be replaced. I mean it was built when the interstate was built. And it’s very, very old.