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Deterioration closes Chili Avenue Bridge
by Evan White
Gates, N.Y -- The bridge connecting Gates and Rochester over the Erie Canal is now closed to vehicles and pedestrians. Late Wednesday afternoon, crews roped off the bridge, which was closed a day earlier after the company painting it found steel deterioration.
The State Department of Transportation said the closure to pedestrians was likely temporary and related to the current job. The bridge was closed as a precaution by the DOT as its engineers had concerns over how much weight could safely be carried over it.
The deteriorating piece, a lower chord of the truss, is significant to the bridge.
"It's a critical piece to the structure that maintains the integrity of the bridge," said Lori Maher, spokesperson for the DOT.
"Why wouldn't the inspectors find it before the painters?" questioned John Sheets of Greece.
After sandblasting the bridge, holes could be seen by workers underneath it with daylight showing through the holes, said Maher. She said the damage wasn't evident before.
The Chili Avenue bridge over the canal was last inspected in 2012. 13WHAM News requested a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Law, and is awaiting the record.
Other repair work took place on the very same bridge in 2013, Maher said.
"The deterioration that we found yesterday and the issues (from last year) have nothing to do with that," Maher stated. "These are different areas."