Otis Bridge controversy continues

Margaret Bartley, spokesperson for The Otis Mountain Camp and Homeowners Association, addressed the Ways and Mean Committee Feb. 26. She had a list of questions about the Lobdell Lane Bridge, and spoke against the replacement of Otis Mountain Lane Bridge. The county board has approved the $450,000 replacement of the Otis Lane bridge, over opposition from local landowners who wanted to preserve the current pony-truss structure. The Lobdell Lane Bridge, which is located about a half mile from Otis Lane, is on a five-year rolling replacement schedule for the county. Opposition to the replacement (of the Otis Bridge) will escalate when this committee tries to justify spending even more tax dollars to replace the Lobdell Bridge, located just a half mile down stream from Otis Bridge, said Bartley. Bartley mentioned the possibility of filing a lawsuit to halt the bridge replacement, and requested a county-wide vote on the matter. Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew said the Lobdell Lane bridge replacement had been considered in the planning process. He said connecting the Otis Mountain properties through the Lobdell Lane bridge isnt feasible unless the county claimed private land under eminent domain. Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava was critical of the implication that the county was wastefully spending money. He pointed out the county was following state highway law. The bottom line is that we own that bridge, and by law we have to replace it, said Scozzafava. Wilmington Supervisor Jeanne Ashworth requested more information, and advocated listening to Bartleys requests, which included waiting for a report on repairing and upgrading the historic bridge. Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell and Lewis Supervisor Anthony Glebus agreed. Some supervisors said the debate over Lobdell Lane bridge was premature, as it hadnt been brought to the board by the county Department of Public Works. I think this whole discussion is kind of ridiculous we havent been requested to rebuild the bridge, said Essex Supervisor Ronald Jackson. Ways and Means Chairwoman Cathy Moses said the matter needed to go back to the DPW committee where it could be addressed.

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