Milanville, Wayne County - After a recent in-depth inspection, PennDOT officials have decided to close a bridge that spans the Delaware River between Wayne County and New York State.
PennDOT has closed the Skinners Falls Bridge.
The bridge connects the community of Milanville in Wayne County with Sullivan County, New York.
A detour has been set-up but drivers say it is not their ideal route. They say the detour has narrow, windy roads and they worry about the winter conditions to come, involving snow and ice.
The bridge is a single-lane structure that is 470-feet long. It opened in 1902 and has been a benefit to people ever since.
With the bridge temporarily shut down, many people are not happy.
"It's an inconvenience for sure," Joanne Brinkerhoff of Milanville said. "Our closest shopping areas are either Narrowsburg or Callicoon in which case I would go over the bridge and take 97."
While the bridge is closed, drivers say the closure will not only cost them time but more money in gas.
"I used it a lot," Susannah Austin of Caukins said. "I guess because I go at least twice or three times a week to the grocery store and down for feed for my chickens."
A PennDOT spokesman says the bridge needs to be closed for safety concerns after a recent in-depth inspection. Engineers are worried that some of the bridge beams can't even support three tons.
"I think it'll be harder on the businesses especially with the winter coming," Randi Jordan of Milanville said. "I mean, the bridge gets slick in the winter but it's a lot faster for people too."
Despite the fact that the bridge is closed and the fact that it's clearly marked, Eyewitness News found several people going over the bridge anyway Monday.
Officials believe it could take up to six months to reopen.
"It's beautiful. I hope they don't have any plans to get rid of it," Brinkerhoff said. "It's a historic bridge and it should be maintained."
PennDOT says the Skinners Falls bridge has a wooden bridge deck that never gets salted. They say over time, salt from vehicles has taken its toll on the bridge beams.
PennDOT officials are hoping to come up with a plan to strengthen some of the beams that need help in order to get the bridge open before the six month projection.