Bridge demolition a sore spot for area businesses

Despite protests from Oswego County business owners, demolition crews have begun taking apart the Pineville Bridge on County Route 48 in the Town of Albion.

Wednesday morning, crews actually dropped the bridge into the Salmon River to start dismantling it. A number of businesses in the Pulaski area say the construction work couldn't happen at a worse time - the peak of the salmon run.

Eric Geary, who runs a guide service on the river, cannot understand why the county did not begin work during the summer. He says "By dropping the bridge into the water, the county has disrupted the salmon run and adversely affected businesses which depend on fishermen from throughout the northeast."

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann says the business owners are "absolutely correct in their complaint about the local economy."

Leeman says the demolition was scheduled for public safety reasons, pointing out the 70-year-old bridge was becoming unsafe and needed to be replaced. "It would've affected this year's salmon run or next year's, because it is a year-long process to replace the bridge," Leeman said.

Cornell University researchers estimate the fishing industry brought more than $16 million in economic activity to Oswego County in 2007.