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'Eyesore' Sheridan Drive pedestrian bridge to be demolished

For the past two years, the Sheridan Drive Pedestrian Bridge in the Town of Tonawanda has been labeled too unsafe for foot traffic.

On Monday, the Town Board determined demolition would be the best option and will call for bids on the project next month.

"It's a liability," said Town Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger of the bridge.

The bridge was built more than 50 years ago, but in July 2016 was closed by the town while it discussed costs and options.

"It had to be brought up to current standards and be made safe, or taken down or replaced," said Councilman John Bargnesi Jr. "It's an eyesore. It's all rusty."

Bargnesi said if the bids are acceptable the town would like to completely remove the pedestrian bridge and get the area cleaned up by the end of the summer. He said that according to engineering reports, demolition would cost the town about $100,000, while repairs to the structure, sandblasting and painting could cost more than $1 million.

Replacing the bridge, previously estimated to be as much as $3 million, would not be an option, Bargnesi said, because the town is unable to obtain adjacent property needed at the foot of each bridge to make larger handicapped accessible entrances to the bridge.

Located in front of the town's Aquatic and Fitness Center, the bridge was built decades ago by the state to provide access to Delaware Pool, an outdoor pool which once stood where the indoor pool is. The bridge also provided access to Hoover elementary and middle schools.

The state turned the bridge over to the town a number of years ago.

"It served its purpose, but now it is an eyesore," Bargnesi said.

Parents had worried how children would cross the road when the span was closed, but the town hired crossing guards for the intersections on Sheridan Drive at Delaware Road and Colvin Boulevard.

Emminger said he spoke to the school district and it has no opposition to the proposed demolition.

"Since we closed (the bridge) two years ago, I've received less than five emails or calls on it," Emminger said. "People have adjusted to (the closing)."

"When we accommodated everyone with the new school crossing guards they adjusted to the new routes," Bargnesi said.

Town of Tonawanda pedestrian bridge still closed with no plan in place

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