Simpson Bridge gets a clear inspection

After closing the Simpson Avenue bridge Monday and Tuesday for inspection, state Department of Transportation (DOT) engineers said the bridge is safe, and there are no immediate repairs scheduled.

Harvey Coffman, a bridge preservation engineer for the DOT, said the 85-year-old bridge opened a day early because crews didn’t find any areas that needed extra attention.

“It’s in relatively good shape for such an old bridge,” Coffman said. “But it is continuing to deteriorate and show its age.”

Just a few years ago the bridge was closed for an extended period when an inspection revealed that wooden support pilings were rotting, causing a portion of the bridge to lean.

DOT crews inspect the bridge every 24 months to assure that it’s safe for traffic. Because of current state budgets, there are no plans to replace the bridge. But Coffman said there are plans to paint the structure in 2014.

“The paint is older, and it’s allowing for some rusting and corrosion,” Coffman said. “So painting the bridge won’t only make it look nice, it will also preserve it.”