FAIRPORT, N.Y. — A major traffic artery in the village of Fairport could be severed by next year, as the New York State Department of Transportation announced its plans to conduct maintenance on the historic Route 250 Lift Bridge. The main street bridge has connected the north side to the south for more than 100 years.
The last time Fairport's Main Street Bridge closed was in 2013, for only three weeks. Now the village is looking at a yearlong closure of the bridge, starting in January 2019. That will leave the nearest canal crossing just a few yards away at the Parker Street Bridge.
"Main Street obviously won’t be connected north and south,” said Frederick May, the mayor of Fairport. “We need to make sure that won't be a detriment. This is going to happen. Regardless of the way we feel. We have got to make this a positive experience."
Business owners who depend on bridge traffic are already making preparations for the change in traffic after the bridge is forced to close down for a year.
"We basically see it, believe it or not, as an opportunity to grow our businesses,” said Wendy Reugaber, the president of the Fairport Perinton Merchants Association. “The bridge being dismantled and having pieces of it re-casted because it is a historical piece, it will actually be an attraction. And we are going to try to jump on that."
As for the residents, many appreciate the devotion to the historical landmark's preservation.
"I'm glad that they are doing it,” said Larry Wahl, a Fairport resident. “It's nice to take care of this old bridge. I use it every day, twice a day. I'll go a different route, and that will just be okay."
The DOT plans to reveal more information about the extent of the repairs at a Public meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 22 at the Fairport High School Auditorium.