PROCEED WITH caution. That is the approach Benwood city officials are taking in regards to the long-awaited razing of the Bellaire Interstate Toll Bridge.
It is the prudent route to travel as a project of this magnitude cannot have too many safety precautions built in.
Bridge owners KDC Investments and Delta Demolitions established a timetable of year’s end for the bridge to be taken down. That time frame was set several months ago, and at that point appeared to be workable.
Such is not the case anymore, as we have already entered November. Moreover, the demolition process is being slowed — and correctly so — by the meticulous planning of Benwood government to ensure the safety of residents of its city, which would also hold true for those living in Bellaire.
Bridge owners submitted their game plan to Benwood officials last week. It was information sought by the city since June of 2010.
As fate would have it, even after such a lengthy delay, KDC didn’t provide all the information needed to expedite the work while other details did not meet receptive ears.
One such case in point is that KDC wants river traffic to be able to proceed under the aging span while demolition work is under way. Such a scenario concerns Benwood officials, and rightly so. We believe that puts individuals at unneeded risk.
Many other factors need ironed out between the bridge owners and Benwood before work proceeds.
A federal court has ruled the bridge must be demolished by Dec. 31. With that date approaching quickly, we urge KDC to get its ducks in a row with a sense of urgency and in correct fashion.
Benwood officials, meanwhile, must remain steadfast in their request for a clear, complete and safe plan for demolition. Anything else would be unnecessarily endangering residents on both sides of the river.