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Safety must always be top priority

Public safety must always trump convenience — regardless of what time of year it is.

The Kentucky Department of Highways probably isn’t very popular in the Tri-State right now after making the decision to close the Ben Williamson Bridge from Ohio into Kentucky last week and maintain that at least through Memorial Day.

But highway officials are absolutely correct in erring on the side of caution and not taking any chances. Although this has certainly created some travel headaches during the high-traffic weekend, convenience is never worth the risk.

Recent headlines show the tragedies that can occur by using a bridge that may be unsafe. Virtually no one from our area who was alive in December of 1967 needs to be reminded of the Silver Bridge tragedy in Point Pleasant W.Va.

But doing the right thing doesn’t always make everyone happy.

We appreciate that state officials didn’t allow public pressure to influence their decision and make a knee-jerk reaction.

Still, we hope transportation officials from both Ohio and Kentucky use this situation as an opportunity to reassess or develop contingency plans for situations like this.

Closing the bridge until the experts are 100 percent sure it is safe will help ensure everyone can have a happy Memorial Day celebration, but it may just take a little longer for people to get where they are going.