A pedestrian bridge built in Ithaca 12 years ago has never been used, but might finally open up.
The span was built over the four-lane section of Route 13 in 2001 so that nearby trails on each side of the road could be connected. But the sections of trail haven't been built, so each end of the bridge is sealed off by chain-link fences.
The Ithaca Common Council recently approved a resolution to spend $15,000 to inspect the bridge over Route 13.
Town of Ithaca Supervisor Herb Engman says the inspection is a requirement for grant money to complete the trail. He says design work on the trails is moving forward and is on track to open the bridge within the next year.
"The bridge hasnâ??t been used for the past decade, but it will be used for many decades to come," says Engman
Engman says the town has had the money for years to work on the trails surrounding the bridge; however, a piece of property needed to connect the trails was owned by Emerson Power.
At the same time that Emerson Power announced it would sell the property to the town for the trail, the company itself was sold. Engman says the sale of Emerson Power caused work on the trails to be in a â??limbo stateâ?? while they waited to establish a right of way. He says it took some time for right of way conversations to begin with the new owner.
"We built phase one and three of that and we are now ready to build phase two. These projects take a long time, they get phased and there's really no way around that," said City of Ithaca Director of Engineering Tom West.
$250,000 of the $365,000 it cost to build the bridge in 2001 was covered by a grant. West says that when it comes to grant funding, you need to act when the money is available. Several other pieces of the trail network were also underway when the bridge was built in 2001 but both West and Engman say the Emerson Power sale caused delays that were unavoidable.
West says the bridge remains in good shape but still needs to be inspected because it's a piece of city-owned infrastructure.
The span is currently known in Ithaca as "the bridge to nowhere."
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)