Mary Street bridge blocks some vehicles

Mary Street bridge blocks some vehicles

BRISTOL, Va. - When you're an emergency responder, every minute counts; that's why responders with the Bristol Life Saving Crew work quickly to get where they need to be in a short amount of time. "That's our goal, to find the quickest route to get help to whoever is down regardless of what that route is," said Tommy Sparks, Captain of a Bristol, Va. lifesaving crew.

A slight detour in their plan could cost them precious minutes. "Obviously the longer someone is unconscious and not breathing, the less likely we're likely to bring them back," said Sparks.

Sparks tells us the recent weight limitation added to Mary Street Bridge has put up a roadblock. "[We're] used to going up Mary Street across the bridge and you'll be right there. [Now] you get up to the bridge and see those big signs that say 'no trucks or heavy vehicles' coming across," he said. "We have to drive down to State Street or go down and go through the tunnel, but either way we can't go across the bridge."

But the city tells News 5 there's a reason. "The weight limit was reduced to five tons and that's due to some engineering and structural type things. But the bridge is property of Norfolk Southern," said Jennifer Wilson.

Which means the rail company has the say of when or if it will be fixed. The city tells us Norfolk Southern is deliberating how they're going to proceed with the future of the bridge.

Sparks tells us the detour makes work more frustrating and just wants it fixed. "I'd like to see it repaired so we can go across it again and continuing doing our jobs," he said.

We called the rail company and have not received an answer yet on where the project stands. The city says the bridge is still completely safe for vehicles under five tons and tells us the bridge is inspected regularly by the city engineer to ensure safety.

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