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Gap on bridge remains between residents, county

June 29, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writing

At least 10 Rohrersville residents upset that the Park Hall Road bridge was torn down and has not been replaced expressed their opinions at Tuesday's Washington County Commissioners meeting but the matter remained unresolved.

The one-lane bridge was removed about a month ago after it was inspected and found to be structurally unsound, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

"This is a safety issue we want to correct," Snook said.

As a result of the missing bridge, residents have to drive an extra mile out of their way to get anywhere.

To do that, the county wants to purchase some land belonging to Tom Berry, Gerald Rohrer and Gerald Rohrer Jr. on Park Hall Road, but none has agreed to sell, Snook said.

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The county wants the land to expand the bridge to two lanes and to widen the road in places.

Berry and the Rohrers believe the upgrades are unnecessary and costly and could lead to development in their neighborhood. They are of no relation to Gary Rohrer, the county's public works director.

Berry said the County Commissioners seem to be arguing that there must be a two-lane bridge or nothing. He suggested they compromise and put in a one-lane bridge.

Other residents said the safety of the bridge has never been a problem and a one-lane bridge is sufficient.

Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said current safety standards require the county to expand the bridge to two lanes. While the road is in a rural area the bridge must be designed for people unfamiliar with the road and the bridge, Snook said.

Gary Rohrer said a traffic count showed 167 cars crossed the bridge during a 24-hour period but residents said that figure was too high for them to accept.

Adding to the confusion are signs on the road.

One sign blames neighbors for a delay in bridge replacement while Berry posted a sign asking people concerned to call him for clarification.

Gary Rohrer said the two-lane project would cost $137,367.

Money has been budgeted to pay for the project, Snook said.

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