Posted at: 09/11/2012 6:50 PM
| Updated at: 09/11/2012 10:28 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann
PRATTSVILLE - Drivers planning a route across the Schoharie Creek Tuesday, were stopped in their tracks at the foot of the now tarp-covered Route 23 bridge. Forced to take a detour around it for a whopping 17 miles.
"Took me 45 minutes to get from Grand Gorge to here just now," said Mike Traver, a town resident. "Normally it takes three or four."
"17 mile detour," said a reporter to Peter Quinones, of Medusa.
"AH-EE! That's it, I gotta go 17 miles," he said.
"Do you mind," the reporter asked?
"Yeah I mind," he answered.
State inspectors spent the day analyzing cracks in a steel truss discovered on Monday, on a bridge that was shut down for weeks a year ago, after sustaining heavy damage in Tropical Storm Irene.
Now the residents of Prattsville who struggled with a year of clean up after the devastating floods have to endure another headache with the bridge closure.
"Not again! 'Cause the last time it closed it killed business in the town," said Beth Ballard, who runs Beth's Cafe.
Ballard feared the lengthy detour will last weeks or even into months, possibly driving away customers to her cafe, who may stay clear of Prattsville altogether.
"They have to drive 17 miles just to come here. So if they were coming here for breakfast and they're already in Glen Gorge? Go to Glen Gorge to eat breakfast! Ya know," she said.
Prattsville's latest pain is not lost on some out-of-town motorists. Like Travis and Cindy Ranken, who were on the way to a doctors appointment in Oneonta when they hit the detour.
"I can go with the flow. There's a lot worse things could happen. Like you could be like these poor people in this town," Ranken said.
No word yet on how long the bridge will be closed.
Residents we talked to said they understand 'why' it was shut down suddenly out of safety concerns. They just hope repairs are completed swiftly.
A DOT spokesperson said the cracks were due to age and deterioration of the structure, not flood waters.