Closing of Sharpes Ferry Bridge Affects Residents
About 1900 motorists a day use the Sharpes Ferry Bridge in Marion County, but due to repairs, the bridge is closed for the next two weeks.
Some residents are frustrated with the current situation.
"It's an inconvenience," said Randy Kohlman.
Kohlman said uses the Sharpes Ferry Bridge at least eight times a week to travel into town, but current repairs are making him take a longer route.
"It's quite an impact on our community and not just me. All the people in Sharpes Ferry," said Kohlman.
Residents who live in the Sharpes Ferry Community usually take the bridge to go to doctor appointments, go to the grocery stores or run other errands, but now that the bridge is closed, they are forced to take a detour.
"I have a grandson who lives seven minutes from where I am right now and with the Sharpes Ferry Bridge being closed I have to route all the way around 40 down to Baseline. That's anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes," said Jean Bear.
Bear said crossing over the bridge is a daily routine for her.
The Florida Department of Transportation decided to replace the 85 -year- old wooden bridge with modern features.
I spoke to Steve Olson who is the public information director for district five.
He said the bridge was closed for about 100 days during the time it was being rebuilt.
It opened in March 2012, but in June one of the retaining walls collapsed after tropical storm Debby.
" It's a little frustrating because the bridge was built new," said Kohlman.
Without this shortcut, residents are driving extra miles which means extra gas.
"Instead of me getting by with two tank fulls a month with the bridge closed for two weeks, I probably have to use 3 1/2 to 4 tank fulls. At the price of gas that's going to put another $80 to $100 on my budget for that month," said Kohlman.
"Especially in a community like we live in, we have to budget and when your on social security you don't have the kind of money to fly in and out a window with. the budget is affected during this time." said Bear.
They all hope this is the last time the Sharpes Ferry Bridge will be closed.
Olson said DOT is trying to determine who is responsible for the collapse of the wall, the builders or the designers.
The repairs will not be paid by taxpayer dollars, instead the bill will fall on the reponsible party.
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