OXFORD – What will Oxford’s fire department, schools and highway departments do if they can no longer safely use the one bridge that links the village’s east and west sides? News that state budget cuts have rescinded funding previously allocated for replacement of the deteriorating truss bridge, which spans the Chenango River, has local officials planning for that possibility.
Work to replace the 55-year old bridge was scheduled to begin in 2009. Budget cuts announced by the New York State Department of Transportation last month mean the more than $3 million project could be out off until at least 2012.
“At this point it’s holding its own,” said Randy Gibbon, director of Chenango County Department of Public Works.
Gibbon said his department monitors the 55-year old bridge on a monthly basis. “The posting now is 20 tons,” he said, high enough to allow school buses and highway trucks as well as fire and emergency vehicles.
If the bridge is deemed unsafe or the weight limit is lowered below 15 tons, as it was prior to emergency repair in 2006, those vehicles will have to find an alternate route.