By Melissa Klaric
Motorists who are used to breezing by the rundown metal footbridge over Pine Run now need to take it slower when they come to the traffic light at the Shenango Valley Freeway and South Myers Avenue in Sharon.
Kids from Sharon Middle High School who live on the south side of the Freeway will be smelling the scent of fresh wood today when they cross the newly opened footbridge on their way to and from school.
The bridge was finished this weekend but final touches were made Monday morning, and during the school day the bridge was open for business.
“We will be sending crossing guards over in the morning,” John Sarandrea, school superintendent said at the school board work session Monday evening. “I didn’t even know it was open until after school and there were kids that crossed over it on their way home.”
Corrosion to the metal structure forced city officials to tear down the footbridge in mid-January. Before that, it had been fenced off when it was deemed unsafe for passage and closed in fall 2010.
Sarandrea was relieved to bring this good news to the board after troubling reports from community members who said kids jumped the barrier and waterway, or ran across the road at an unsafe or unguarded intersection.
“The kids no longer have to dash across the Freeway at Spencer Avenue to make the light,” he said. “This intersection is safe to cross; you can see traffic coming from both sides, without winding curves in the road.”
Sarandrea said that the school district, city officials, and the community “really came together to make this happen.”
The construction of the footbridge was made possible mostly through donations made to the Memorial Footbridge Renovation fund set up through the Community Foundation, 7 West State St., Sharon.