Residents will have to wait for bridge repairs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

MEADVILLE &045;&045; Residents of Garden City Road in the Sandy Creek Estates portion of Franklin County will have to continue to drive 15 miles out of their way for daily tasks for at least a few more months.

The Garden City Road bridge has been closed since mid-March as a result of early February rains that washed away the dirt on the west side of the bridge. The county closed the bridge for safety concerns, Board of Supervisors President George Collins said.

Prior to February’s rains, which caused $430,000 of damage in Adams County, the embankment surrounding the bridge was already washing away, Collins said.

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&uot;We had it temporarily fixed,&uot; he said. &uot;We just couldn’t keep up with the rain.&uot;

Franklin County has applied for a grant with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and is expecting funding to fix the bridge’s embankment, but funds are not yet available.

&uot;We are waiting on a grant from Brookhaven,&uot; Supervisor Woodrow Wilson said. &uot;We hope this summer sometime.&uot;

Greg Brinson of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Brookhaven said the bridge had been approved for funding through the Emergency Watershed Program.

&uot;That program is funded only as needed,&uot; Brinson said.

&uot;There is no money sitting in the fund. We got a lot of requests to be funded and we are waiting on money from Washington.&uot;

Brinson said the southern part of the state had about $2.5 million in requests for work right now.

Until the funding is available residents such as Hillard Woffard will have to continue driving 15 miles out of the way.

&uot;We are in a heck of a predicament,&uot; Woffard said. &uot;With the way gas is going up I can’t afford to go all the way up to the doctor.&uot;

Woffard said about 20 families live in the area and were affected by the bridge closing, in addition to about 150 hunting camps.

Woffard said he has been waiting for two months on someone to do something about the bridge.

&uot;That’s just how they do us, they forget about us,&uot; Woffard said. &uot;We are right on the borderline (of the county).&uot;

Woffard said he watched a bulldozer sit by the bridge for three weeks, but never saw any work done to correct the problem.

Supervisors said they knew the bridge was a problem but had to wait on the funding.

&uot;We went through soil conservation and got a grant but money just isn’t available,&uot; Collins said. &uot;We went and closed it so no one will get hurt.&uot;