WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There are significant roadblocks to reopening the Water Street Bridge.

A local committee is trying to bridge the gap between safety and convenience with a temporary solution. But is it worth the risk? The Firefighter’s Memorial Bridge in Pittston has been out of commission going on six months. Will it ever reopen? That’s the $750,000 question.

The future of the Water Street Bridge is up in the air. The century-old-bridge failed inspection in August due to a bent eye-bar. With its poor condition, if a truss gives out, the bridge would not be able to hold any weight. But now it’s holding up traffic — and it could delay emergency operations.

“As a former police officer, I know minutes are very important. If it takes an extra nine minutes to go across the other bridge to get over here, that could mean lives being put at risk,” Luzerne County Citizens Blight Committee member Greg Griffin said.

The county needs a more extensive inspection of the bridge to determine if it can be repaired and reopened with a weight limit or removed and replaced. The estimated cost was $750,000, but Tuesday, council voted to table it and ask for more bids.

“Our suggestion was to use the American Rescue Plan monies but even so we have to be mindful and frugal with those dollars,” Luzerne County Acting Manager Romilda Crocamo said.

Griffin and his committee want the county to allow passenger cars on the bridge in the meantime.

“We can have a temporary solution that will help the citizens get back to a normal traffic pattern and help the businesses,” Griffin said.

But Sam Polit, who lives right off the bridge, says it’s not safe even with a weight limit. He’s concerned trucks following GPS would ignore signs and use it anyway.

“Forget about inconvenience! I don’t want to see somebody, God forbid, get killed when a tractor-trailer gets up there and it goes through the bridge into the river and all these cars are on it. We’ve got a problem,” Polit said.

Crocamo says the county is aware of the burden, but safety is top priority. The county is wasting no time on this and won’t make any decisions until an inspection is complete.