November 30, 2021

Two years after upgrades, Homer bridge needs repairs

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

A car crosses the Pine Street bridge in Homer on Wednesday. The state has notified the town that the bridge, which the town spent nearly $100,000 to upgrade to a 5-ton capacity from 3 tons, has problems.

Less than two years after its deck was rebuilt, the nearly 140-year-old Pine Street bridge in Homer needs structural repairs, town leaders were told recently.

Town Highway Superintendent John Phelps told the town board at its meeting Wednesday that the village engineer and contractor on the project failed to notice the deterioration that was discovered in mid-April during an annual inspection by a state Department of Transportation.

“It’s very disappointing,” Supervisor Fred Forbes said.

The town will have to seek bids for the project, which will entail removing some of the decking that was installed by Economy Paving, repairing the deteriorated structure and replacing the deck. The project cost about $100,000.

The iron bridge was originally constructed in 1882. Following its refurbishment in 2019, the bridge was posted for vehicles weighing a maximum of 5 tons, up from 3 tons. The state has not imposed any restrictions due to the problems found in April, Phelps said after the meeting.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board continued to revise a proposal that would allow property owners in residentially zoned land to have chickens without the need for a town permit.

Town Board member Kevin Williams suggested allowing chicken as long as the eggs are for personal consumption.

Roosters would not be allowed, unless more than 250 feet separates the location of the chicken coop and another resident’s house.

At the meeting, the idea of requiring confinement for chickens was discussed. The proposal will be discussed further before it is finalized at next month’s meeting. A public hearing would be in July. A vote to approve it could come at the July meeting after the hearing.

“This is what good government is about,” Forbes said. “We hash things out until we get it right.”