This is in response to a letter to the Altoona Mirror editor dated Aug. 16 by Janet Thompson, concerning the Sharpsburg Bridge located outside of Roaring Spring:
While the Department of Transportation sympathizes with and understands Thompson's and others' concerns, removing the Sharpsburg Bridge is the best option given the realities we face.
We analyzed how closing the bridge would impact the community, and we would never have considered eliminating the bridge if there weren't another structure already in place - 800 feet away - that could serve residents' and emergency services' needs.
The bridge is past its useful life and it would cost $400,000 more, not including continued maintenance and inspection costs, to rebuild the bridge.
The project we're pursuing will also include substantial safety improvements at two intersections with Route 164 to improve turning movements and sight distance, which should increase safety along Route 164 in the East Sharpsburg area.
Following an extensive public involvement process involving local stakeholders and state Rep. Jerry Stem's office, we're confident that we have a solution that balances residents' needs and the best use of taxpayer dollars.
Thomas A. Prestash, District Executive Engineering District 9-0, Hollidaysburg