Waterbury Ave. bridge closed on first day of school

THE BRONX - On the first day of school, the morning commute of some Bronx students and their parents was made difficult after the city failed to reopen the Waterbury Avenue footbridge that collapsed in August.

The bridge used to serve as the main route for children walking to and from P.S. 14 until Aug. 8, when it was crushed after a dump truck traveling on Bruckner Expressway smashed into it.

Officials believe the load bed of the vehicle deployed, sprung up and hit the footbridge, causing a portion of it to collapse to the road beneath.

The Department of Transportation erected a temporary span in place of the bridge, which opened in the afternoon in time for school?s dismissal. Transportation officials are boasting about the fact that they built the temporary bridge in just 25 days. Some pedestrians, however, question the safety of the structure, and many chose to make a detour rather than walk over it.

?It gets you thinking, if it only took them four weeks, whether or not it's safe,? says Heather Doino, who uses the bridge daily.

Transportation officials insist that the temporary bridge has been tested and was deemed sound.

State DOT inspectors are testing the strength of the old bridge before they begin the construction on a new one. They say the design for a permanent footbridge is already under way; construction is expected to start next summer and be completed in time for the beginning of the next school year.

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