By Christine Holmes
A second bridge closure has eliminated yet another vehicle route to and from I-70 in New Concord. The one lane bridge on South Liberty Street closed around noon on Friday when concerned New Concord Street Department officials called the Muskingum County Engineer, Doug Davis, to inspect the stability of the bridge.
Davis determined the unsafe conditions of the bridge were cause for immediate and indefinite closure.
The South Liberty bridge has received a significant increase in traffic since the closing of both lanes on the State Route 83 bridge in April.
On Friday, Muskingum County Engineer Administrative Deputy, Matt Russell said the engineer’s office was awaiting communication with officials from the railroad which the bridge overpasses. He said work could not begin without their approval.
Village officials have since spoken to railroad officials and, according to New Concord Village Administrator, John Huey, the railroad is “reluctant to do anything.”
“The bridge can’t be opened until major repairs are made,” said Huey.
According to Huey, the bridge will not reopen in time for students to return to Muskingum University at the end of August for the start of the fall semester.
Motorists can enter New Concord via the Norwich and Champion exit detour routes. Huey also said passenger vehicles travelling on State Route 83 can take Maple Lane to Old Rix Mills Road as an alternate route.
The bridge on State Route 83 is expected to open in October.