NORTHPORT - The Northport Bridge is still safe for motorists to cross, despite the numerous concerns by residents in the area.
Patricia Jreige, a communications advisor for Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation, wanted to stress that to motorists.
"We've reduced the weight of the bridge to make it safer to drive over," said Jreige.
While the bridge may still be safe to drive over, the department has determined the bridge needs replacing.
"The bridge had a detailed inspection last summer in addition to its regular, annual inspection and it showed the bridge needed to be replaced. I checked with our project engineer and we're currently designing the replacement for the Northport Bridge.
"We're on schedule to replace it in 2010."
Northport resident Betty Gamble took pictures of the bridge earlier this summer that shows the deterioration of the bridge.
"I normally use the bridge quite often - my brother-in-law has a cottage on the other side of the bridge," Gamble said, adding that when she makes trips to Amherst she will travel on Route 366 one way and Route 6 the other.
"But because of the condition of the bridge, I've been trying to use the other route more frequently, especially in the winter because I'm scared of the (bridge's) condition."
Gamble said the bridge at one point had orange cones sticking out of holes in the concrete on the top of the bridge. She said the holes have since been repaired.
"But on the sidewalk there's about a six-inch drop in one portion. The roadway has sort of been patched so there is no sudden drop - it's just kind of wavy with a few bumps."
Driving across the bridge, Gamble said you don't notice the drop as you would walking over it.
"While walking, you have to go very carefully because of the holes in the railing and because of the unevenness of the sidewalk," she said.
Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar said the bridge was one of the first issues he wanted to raise once he got to office.
"My first campaign visit when I was campaigning was to Northport and that's what the residents talked to me about," he said.
But for now, Gamble will still use an alternate route when feasible.
"And I certainly wouldn't go across that bridge if there were a storm surge at high tide because I wouldn't trust (the bridge). The wooden barriers that sort of protect the steel beams are a mess - they're all shredded from ice and other conditions over the past few years," she said.