CAPON BRIDGE — The Town Council here asked attorney Royce Saville to explore alternatives to replacing the Duff Lane bridge over Dillon’s Run on Oct. 23 — 12 days after Judge Carter Williams ruled that replacing or repairing the bridge was their responsibility.
Williams issued his ruling in a civil suit brought 2 years ago by the couples that have only that bridge to access their homes, Terry and Wanda Brinker and Eric and Debbie McDonald.
The Brinkers and McDonalds say they approached the town asking for repairs after the bridge became unsafe in 2016. They appeared at the May 16, 2017 Town Council meeting to make their request.
In response, they said in an Oct. 2017 lawsuit, the town refused, posting signs on Duff Lane saying Capon Bridge was ceasing maintenance of the street and bridge.
Judge Williams said that’s not allowed in his Oct. 11 final order. In it he rejected each of the town’s arguments — from lack of funding to denial that it had taken ownership of the bridge and lane in 1978.
“The court finds that it is the Town of Capon Bridge’s duty to maintain the roadway and bridge, which is the subject of this action, in a condition for safe use and travel in an ordinary fashion,” Williams wrote. “The aforesaid duty of the Town of Capon Bridge is established not only by statute, but by the express, plain language of the deed.”
Capon Bridge accepted the road and bridge in 1978 or 1979. The town argued that the deal was defective, but Williams said that 39 years later he found no problems with it.
As for the argument that repairs would be too expensive, Williams wrote, “No authority has been presented in this matter to support the abrogation of the Town’s responsibilities and duties concerning maintenance, repair, etc., of the bridge based upon its purported lack of financial resources to do so.” o