The State Route 83 North bridge in New Concord reopened Friday afternoon, nearly one month ahead of schedule.
The bridge originally closed for construction in April and was expected to be useable again in October. However, New Concord residents aren’t complaining about the early opening.
A local grocery store employee said the customers were thrilled to know the bridge is open, noting a school bus driver who was especially happy to be able to take her normal route again.
Sixth grader, Julie Bennett was excited to know she can get to her grandparents’ house even quicker. “We won’t have to go the long way around,” said Bennett.
A Muskingum University commuter student from Zanesville, Lance Hecker, looks forward to using the State Route 83 exit again when he takes Interstate 70 to get to school.
“Now that the bridge has reopened, I don’t have to use the unkempt back road [Maple Lane] to get to the other side,” said Hecker. “It’s quicker and much more convenient with the bridge open.”
New Concord residents are still questioning the status of the wooden bridge on South Liberty Street. The wooden bridge closed indefinitely in July following an inspection by Muskingum County Engineer, Doug Davis. The increased traffic that resulted from the closure of the State Route 83 North bridge played a factor in the unsafe conditions of the wooden bridge.
According to New Concord Village Administrator John Huey, a load rating can be tested on the wooden bridge in October to begin the repair process now that the State Route 83 North bridge is open again.