WESTPORT—The Board of Finance unanimously approved $102,000 for an engineering firm to design a replacement for the deficient Kings Highway North Bridge over Willow Brook.

In August, the state Department of Transportation deemed the bridge to be “deficient” and in need of “immediate action to ensure public safety.” Since then, it has been closed indefinitely to vehicles over four tons. Vehicles over the weight limit are forced to find alternate routes between Canal Road and Main Street.

The state DOT inspects municipal bridges over 20 feet long, but the 18-foot span is to be inspected and maintained by the town. When the DOT inspected the bridge as a courtesy to the town and found it was deficient, Public Works Director Steve Edwards said he did not know the last time his office inspected it.

Edwards said the construction of the bridge will cost the town “about $400,000.”

“It is certainly in our best interest to get this allocation as soon as possible,” Edwards said.

Morley Boyd, a Westport resident, spoke up about his concerns regarding allocating the money for the design of the bridge before receiving public input. He asked if the town planned to follow the demolition ordinance requiring a permit for the bridge’s replacement.

Edwards said there will be public meetings to gather input on the construction.