TOWN OF DICKINSON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The walking bridge over Interstate 81 in the Town of Dickinson has closed for good.

The New York State Department of Transportation announced the closure in a letter to nearby residents dated January 26th.

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge was constructed in 1968 connecting the Sunrise Terrace neighborhood with the Northside of Binghamton around the time the highway was constructed.

DOT recently replaced the bridge that takes Front Street over the interstate and added a multi-use path that is separated from the roadway by a barrier.

DOT says the old walking bridge is an aging structure and that maintaining it during the winter has become hazardous.

Although about 100 feet of the path leading to the bridge was recently repaved and new fencing was erected alongside it.

Town of Dickinson Supervisor Mike Marinaccio supports removal of the old bridge.

He says only a handful of residents used it regularly and that it had become not only a location of illegal activity, but also a way for burglars and other criminals to access the neighborhood.

Marinaccio says the multi-use path along Front Street is much safer, wider, with lights and an emergency phone at the halfway point.

Demolition of the old bridge is expected sometime this year.