Danville Express

Newsfront - December 14, 2007

Footbridge owners complying with request

Iron Horse Trail has 55 out of 60 encroachments removed

by Natalie O'Neill

Despite some moaning and groaning from Alamo and Danville folks living along the Iron Horse Trail, a county staff visit Monday showed residents are complying with Public Work's request to remove footbridges.

Fifty-five out of 60 tagged encroachments have been taken out in about two weeks.

"We were pleasantly surprised," said John Pulliam, who manages the trail.

Yellow laminated signs were stapled to footbridges in late November, notifying residents to remove their encroachments by Dec. 7 - or to face county removal, accompanied by a fine.

But now, Public Works representatives say no removal will occur until after Jan. 1. They also are considering not charging a removal fee.

"We may be able to solve the problem without using county forces," Pulliam said.

After the new year, the county maintenance division may be in charge of getting rid of the encroachments. The footbridges - which some residents use to maneuver from their yards, over a dip in the landscape, to the trail - are considered a safety liability on county property.

County staff says the footbridges increase the risk of flooding since debris and branches are more likely to get stuck in the dip and clog the flow of rainwater.

Residents interviewed a few days after the yellow signs went up said it was ridiculous to think the footbridges pose any imminent safety threat.

If the county chooses to charge a removal fee, owners of encroaching objects would be responsible for paying for the staff time needed to get rid of encroachments. The bridges would be hauled to a landfill, Pulliam said.

A rough estimate for fee per footbridge is $200-$300.

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