Carrie Wetstein

Carrie Wetstein

Those who cross the Clinton Street bridge on foot or by bicycle for several specific purposes can avail themselves of a special transportation service when it closes Monday for approximately nine months.

The United Way of Defiance County, Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC) and K&P Medical of Defiance are teaming to provide the “Bridge Ride” program.

Eligible persons must have been using the bridge — before it closes — on foot or bicycle to reach work, a medical appointment or a scheduled court appearance, according to United Way director Carrie Wetstein.

NOCAC will handle ride scheduling, while K&P Medical is providing the transportation, and United Way helped bring things together. The Defiance city government is covering the cost — estimated to be $30 per round trip, according to city finance director John Lehner.

Qualified persons can all NOCAC between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 419-784-5136, ext. 0.

Wetstein advised that the rides must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. Those who call on Monday, for example, can make arrangements for a ride beginning on Wednesday, she indicated.

When someone calls to schedule a ride, Wetstein explained, the first question they will be asked by NOCAC is whether they used the bridge prior to closure.

She said arrangements will be made for those with special circumstances, such as having children or being in a wheelchair.

As for how many people may use the program, Wetstein isn’t sure, but doesn’t expect a large number.

“I don’t think the numbers (of users) are going to be huge, but I’m grateful the service provides an option for people who are able to benefit from it,” she said. “I’m grateful NOCAC and K&P were able to work together to address this need in our community.”

The United Way, NOCAC and K&P Medical teamed previously during a pilot transportation program in Defiance to study the need for such services among those who didn’t qualify for existing transportation services, according to Wetstein.

The Clinton Street bridge is scheduled to close for replacement at 9 a.m. Monday.

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