Two councilmen not onboard for Norfolk Southern request

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TOLEDO - (13abc, Action News) - Norfolk Southern Railroad wants to demolish the Sumner Street bridge.

The railroad says if it needs to make repairs to the tracks below, the height of the bridge could make it impossible for double-stacked cars to roll underneath.

But destroying the bridge would have an impact.

Sometimes, when a train rides the rails, you will find Michael Harding on the bridge as trains run nder his feet.

Harding says, "It's a distinctive Toledo location shot for train photography and the shot's really good fromt he other end of the bridge here."

That other end is also where people who live in the surrounding neighborhood enter the bridge to cross the tracks.

Their footprints are visible in the snow as they head downtown.

Toledo city councilman Peter Ujvagi says that bridge makes the downtown area walkable. He says, "It does connect up with the train station, you go a little further, the Metroparks. There's interesting things happening in the warehouse district."

Ujvagi understands the railroad's concern about the height of the bridge but he believes we need a footpath cross those tracks.

"My preference would be for keeping it, if that's doable," Ujvagi says.

But the second issue is the condition of bridges Norfolk Southern maintains.

In District One alone, there are 10 bridges that councilman Tyrone Riley insists need repair.

And he says those poorly maintained bridges contribute to blight in surrounding neighborhoods.

Riley charges there are a series of bridges that could collapse or have pieces that could break off and injure someone.

So he's willing to bargain with Norfolk Southern.

Riley told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "We want to drive the point home that we want something done with these bridges."

By doing that, you are eliminating an eyesore and helping neighborhoods, Riley says. And in exchange, Riley would vote to let Norfolk Southern demolish the Sumner Street bridge.

Riley meets next with railroad officials March 8.

Councilman Ujvagi believes the idea of allowing demolition be sent back to the Kapszukiewicz administration for further study.

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