It took a court order, but the Knapp Road bridge over the CSX Railroad should be open this morning. The bridge over the CSX rails just south of S.R. 5 in Charlestown has been finished, but remained closed for several weeks to the consternation and annoyance of residents and others because of administrative details.
Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Chris Meduri said Charlestown Township trustees asked "what could be done to get the bridge open" since it looked like work was finished. The railroad replaced the bridge over the tracks just south of S.R. 5, but didn't open it because some paperwork was still to be done to turn the bridge over to the county engineer.
Residents had taken to moving the "Bridge Closed" signs and driving over the span. That prompted the contractor to call the county sheriff about drivers trespassing. The sheriff's office responded by having deputies issue warnings rather than citations to drivers.
Portage County Engineer Michael Marozzi said keeping the span closed was a major inconvenience for residents and could be a safety issue. Without the bridge, school buses, emergency vehicles and residents were forced to come in from S.R. 14 far to the south.
"It was a five-mile detour," Marozzi said.
After no response from CSX and trustees getting more calls from residents tired of the detour, Meduri suggested filing a motion for a temporary injunction to open the road.
Meduri was in Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow's court Monday asking for the injunction, which Enlow granted. The county and a CSX representative agreed the opening wouldn't prejudice anyone's contractual rights still remaining on the project.
So, as of this morning, the new Knapp Road bridge should be open, finally and legally, to traffic.
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Facebook: Mike Sever, Record-Courier