Oxford’s bridge project delayed

OXFORD – It will be close to a year before work will begin to replace the deteriorating 56-year old bridge which serves as the only link between the Village of Oxford’s east and west sides, according to an update provided by the steering committee tasked with overseeing the roughly $3 million project.

Work to replace the existing Main Street bridge was scheduled to begin in 2009, according to Oxford Mayor Terry Stark, as he related the news to the committee members that the project had been delayed.

According to the revised schedule, he explained, “the letting of the bridge is going to move back to December 9, 2010.” Construction, which will now begin in the spring or summer of 2011, is expected to take approximately 18 months.

“In effect, we’re losing a year,” the mayor reported.

The delay in itself is of concern because of the existing structure’s condition.

“If the bridge isn’t safe, they’ll shut it down and we’ll have to deal with it,” said Stark.

At present, the span’s weight limit is posted as 20 tons; high enough to allow emergency vehicles, school buses and highway trucks to utilize the crossing. It is, however, inspected on a monthly basis by the Chenango County Department of Public Works. If at any point 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.

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