Mauthe Bridge to be evaluated by MS Consultants

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correctly identify the donor of the $5,000.

By Jessica Hardin

Poland Village

Poland Village took a decisive step toward restoring Mauthe Bridge in the Poland Municipal Forest.

At its Tuesday meeting, village council unanimously approved a motion by the forest board to have MS Consultants of Youngstown conduct an evaluation of the bridge. The review will cost $1,300.

Council agreed to appropriate the funds from an annual $5,000 donation Republic Services Carbon Limestone Landfill makes to the village for parks and recreational purposes. The passage of a 0.25-mill levy for forest maintenance last November will provide the board with an annual budget of about $12,000, but those funds do not become available until spring 2019.

Solicitor Jay Macejko said, “From a legal point of view, this is money well spent.”

Multiple councilmembers noted that the problem is urgent, calling the bridge a safety issue.

The bridge was closed July 27 after being reviewed by MS Consultants, but shortly after, orange safety fencing and signs on the bridge were removed and destroyed.

The result of the evaluation will form the basis of a restoration plan. Specifically, MS Consultants will review the bridge’s steel towers and anchor points.

If the bridge’s structural integrity is compromised, the restoration will be time-intensive and expensive.

Regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, village leadership is eager to start this necessary project.

“We’re busy. We are listening but listening also takes action, and we are trying to provide positive action on behalf of the village,” said forest board chairwoman Elinor Zedaker.

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