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Rusted out bridge closed

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DOT declares Lanes Mill Road bridge unsafe for travel

By BEN CARLSON

Rusted and swayed beams beneath a bridge at the Anderson-Franklin county line have forced state Department of Transportation officials to close it indefinitely, county highway foreman Chip Chambers announced Monday afternoon.

The bridge, located on Lanes Mill Road, was downgraded following a state inspection earlier this year and restricted to vehicles weighing 3 tons or less, Chambers said.

“That’s the lowest it can go without being condemned,” Chambers said. “I called them back a couple of weeks ago because I had some concerns after being under it a couple of times. They came back for another inspection, agreed, and said shut it down.”

The bridge was on the DOT’s replacement list for 2012, but now paying for its replacement will fall to county taxpayers because of the way it is situated.

Chambers said bridges that span county lines are the responsibility to the county to the west or south.

“We’re the county to the south, so it’s ours,” Chambers said.

The bridge’s pilings are in good shape and won’t have to be replaced, Chambers said. But the bridge itself will cost an estimated $50,000.

“Hopefully we can get DOT to step up,” Chambers said. “It will be impossible to wait for 2012 and keep the bridge closed.”

The bridge is used by numerous people who live on that side of the county and commute to or shop in Frankfort because it allows them to reach US 127 without first backtracking toward Ninevah Road, onto Old Frankfort Road and to the US 127 Bypass at the intersection of Highway 151.

It is also used by visitors to Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery, which is located on Lanes Mill Road, if they are coming in from the north.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.