By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Main Street bridge in the center of Albion was closed to traffic Thursday afternoon by the New York State Department of Transportation, reducing cross-canal traffic to a single access point in the county seat.
According to an alert released Thursday by NYSDOT, an inspection revealed that the bridge can no longer safely carry traffic, which initiated a procedure that immediately closed the village’s main thoroughfare shortly after noon.
In an email to Albion Mayor Dean Theodorakos, DOT Regional Construction Engineer Robert Traver said that the bridge needed to be closed to ensure public safety.
“(The) bottom line is that based on the load rating performed on the bridge and our visual inspection conduct today, the load positng for this bridge was low enough that we needed to close it to make sure the public safety is being maintained,” Traver wrote.
As of Thursday evening, Main Street was closed in both directions at the lift bridge, although pedestrian traffic was allowed.
Traver’s email outlined a three-step plan to repair and reopen the bridge.
“Our immediate goal is to make necessary repairs as soon as we possible can to get the bridge back open,” wrote Travers. “I have my staff working, very aggressively, on this right now to find the steel needed to make these repairs and perform the needed repairs ... I have directed my staff to try to make these repairs within days if not sooner.”
Traver told Theodorakos that permanent repairs are not likely to come in the short-term. The village is still waiting to see progress on the Brown Street bridge, which was closed by NYSDOT in July after safety concerns were observed during the NYSDOT’s annual bridge inspection.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheehan said leaving the Ingersoll Street bridge, which is located in a residential neighborhood, as the village’s only route over the canal on such short notice was “a slap in the face.”
“We’ve now got only one bridge over the canal,” Sheehan said. “Brown Street is closed, now Main Street is closed, if there’s an accident on Ingersoll Street there would be no way to cross in the village.”
In the event that Ingersoll is unusable for emergency equipment, school buses and snow removal equipment, the next nearest two-lane bridge is on more than six road miles away on Route 387 in Fancher.