Contrary to the contents of the News-Times article, the bridges in New Milford are safe and are inspected at least every two years.
For a number of reasons, I am appalled by the horrendous reporting done by John Pirro. First, he failed to ask the Mayor about the issue. Second, Mike Zarba, Director of Public Works, told me that he only had a brief telephone conversation with Pirro and Mike asked him to wait until they could meet so he could explain the process and give him updated inspection data. Mike said that Pirro declined the invitation, claiming to be "on deadline," meaning, "in a rush." Third, when the heck did a medical salesman become a quotable expert on bridge engineering and maintenance? Fourth, Pirro did little more than rehash last year's pre-election campaign stories.
Here's a quote from the story that bothers me the most and has caused some concern in the Community. Quoting the expert, Pirro wrote, "Until last year, he said, none of the local bridges in town -- as opposed to the state-maintained bridges -- had been inspected since 2002." Pure hogwash and Pirro could have put the lie to this if he'd bothered to spend the few seconds it'd have taken to get the truth.
Mike explained to me that every two years the State inspects every local bridge over 20 feet and reports to the Town. We have 34 of them. In the last five years, he said that work has been done on at least 11 of the other 26 and some, like the one on Long Mountain Road, have been replaced.
Finally, if Pirro had asked, he would have been told that in 2010 and 2011 every bridge in Town was inspected by a consulting engineer. The name of the Firm is Dewberry.
Will the News-Times ask a reporter to write a follow-up story containing the facts? Don't hold your breath.