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Resident skeptical of bridge project

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By The Staff

Editor: 

“And now, the rest of the story.” Recent reports show Jefferson County and Trimble and Carroll counties could lose hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars if the Milton-Madison Bridge is closed for a year for construction. My questions are simple. First, is the recommendation by Wilbur Smith Associates a suggestion or a final decision? Second, why are decisions made based on the demands of the Madison Historical Society? Third, why is it impossible to build a separate structure leaving the current bridge open during construction thus minimalizing the economic impact? And, fourth, what about ambulance service?  I have a friend who was born and lives in Trimble County. He is 24, very active in Trimble County and very concerned. He commented, and I paraphrase: ‘Anyone over 60 should have no say in the design, color or location of the bridge. The bridge will have minimal impact on them because they will be gone long before the bridge is. Ask, and listen to, the adult youth of the area as to what they want and need.’  As a 60-plus-year-old resident of Milton, I agree. The future is in their hands, not ours. Is the loss of so many jobs  acceptable? I don’t think so, especially in this economy. John Carr of Wilbur Smith Associates says that without the ferry, the economic loss to the area would be $63 million dollars. I say that the loss will be even greater with or without the ferry. Possibly as much as $100 million dollars.  I like the idea that 1,382 jobs will be generated by the project. But Carr admits the contractors are not required to hire local workers. We have already seen that first hand with the contractors working at the local power plants.  Carr says the anticipated business losses from the closure are temporary, with a majority of these jobs and output expected to return after the project is completed. I know of at least one business that closed during the last bridge closure that has not reopened. Do we really expect Indiana smokers and Kentucky drinkers to rely on a ferry to traverse the river in order to stimulate our economy? Personally I do not look forward to a 30-minute wait and ferry ride (15 minutes each way). The alternative of burning $2.60 a gallon for gas to LaGrange or Carrollton. On a positive note, Midway Stop & Go in Milton and Dollar General in Bedford will have banner years! I challenge every Trimble County resident to write the editor, call elected officials, contact John Carr and tell them how closing the bridge will effect you, personally and economically. Otherwise, we must live with the inconvenience and economic ramifications.

 Vic Weil

Milton, Ky.