219 Bridge Shuts Down After Structural Issues Emerge

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 7, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 7, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT

Springville, NY (WKBW) - The discovery of major structural issues has forced the closure of the old 219 Bridge that crosses over Cattaraugus Creek. Officials with the Department of Transportation made the decision Thursday after inspectors discovered structural problems. The bridge is 56 years old. The bridge was already slated for rehabilitation in the spring, but the discovery forced it to close abruptly.

"We actually feel the safety of the bridge can no longer be guaranteed," said Department of Transportation Spokesperson Susan Surdej. "Therefore, to ensure public safety, we felt it was necessary to shut the bridge down immediately."

A 2 mile detour now takes drivers to the Peters Road Exit. Local businesses are worried about the detour, since many rely on traffic for business.

"Now that drivers have to go an extra two miles down the road, people are going to think twice about my business," said Dan Johnson, who manages COA Tire and Rental. "If I don't have anyone driving by, they're not going to see us, and they won't know we're here. It's going to be tough drawing in business."

The Department of Transportation says it'll now spend the next 6 weeks conducting a more in-depth analysis of the bridge. Once the analysis is complete, officials will make a decision on the future of the structure.