Austintown trustees stand with residents in fight to keep Lanterman Rd. Bridge

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They argue getting rid of the infrequently traveled bridge would shut neighborhoods off from the township and slow emergency response times

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Austintown Township trustees stood with residents Wednesday night in an effort to save Lanterman Road Bridge.

It was a packed house at the trustees meeting as community members gathered to voice their opinions on the possibility of losing the bridge, which spans Interstate 680 and takes Lanterman Road over the freeway.

People against getting rid of the overpass and replacing it with cul-de-sacs said it will shut their neighborhoods off from the rest of Austintown.

“We have an issue of being, it seems, being pushed out of Austintown,” said Tess Gallagher, who lives in one of those neighborhoods.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is considering tearing down the bridge because few drivers use it and getting rid of it would save taxpayers money. According to the law, the state has the right to do so.

“For ODOT to come in and take out a bridge and just not care, we are just outraged that the state could do something like this,” Gallagher said.

The trustees and local law enforcement echoed residents’ concerns, saying they are standing with them.

They agree the bridge needs to stay in order for first responders to get there in emergency situations.

“I love that they were all here,” said Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost. “They’re almost family. I think they’re doing a great job and we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”

For now, Austintown trustees said they are going to talk to lawyers to see if there is any legal stance they can take to fight this.

“There’s negotiations but right now, they’re still discussing them,” Frost said. “We’d rather have the bridge and the road fixed.”

They are urging residents to consider the possibility of losing the bridge.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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