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Bridge Delay Unavoidable

Monroe County commissioners ought to pursue reconstruction of the Knowlton Covered Bridge as soon as possible, as was suggested last week. But we hope one concern, that state funding for the project could be jeopardized by delay, is unfounded.

“It doesn’t seem to be moving with a lot of speed,” Jerusalem-area resident Chuck Dye said of the project last week. “I’m afraid part of the funding’s going to go,” he told commissioners.

Indeed, acting promptly on state and federal grants is desirable. But this situation is a bit different than most.

Earlier this year, commissioners were told the state would provide $950,000 to help repair the 132-year-old bridge. That was to be matched with $50,000 in county funding.

Then Mother Nature stepped in with a storm that destroyed most of the span. Since then, commissioners have been exploring the feasibility of reconstructing it. A professional design study is being prepared.

County Engineer Amy Zwick encouraged commissioners to “get some kind of timeline nailed down …”

It is hoped such scheduling can be ready soon after the new year begins. Good.

In the meantime, state officials should keep Monroe County’s $950,000 available. The delay is not their fault. A proverbial “act of God” should not be held against commissioners regarding money to reconstruct the bridge.

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