(a) Prior to a municipality retaining ownership of a bridge pursuant to section thirty-five of this article, the municipality shall notify the commissioner in writing of its intent to do so. Upon receipt of such notice, the commissioner shall make an initial inspection of the bridge to determine what repairs, replacements, improvement and additions are necessary to place the bridge in a safe and efficient condition for use of the public, cause an estimate of the cost of such and shall also provide an estimate of the amount of funds required annually to maintain the bridge after completion of initial improvements. The commissioner shall appoint an engineer to inspect the bridge and to consult and assist the commissioner in making findings. The cost of the engineer's service shall be paid by the municipality.
(b) The municipality shall make the improvements to the bridge that are determined to be necessary by the commissioner. The commissioner may make periodic inspections during construction of improvements and at the completion of any improvement project. The commissioner shall report on each inspection to the municipality and include identification of any deficiencies with recommended action to correct the deficiencies. The municipality shall reimburse the commissioner for inspections and reports.
(c) The municipality shall establish a separate fund, designated as the "bridge maintenance fund". Proceeds in the fund shall be expended for the purpose of improvements and maintenance of the bridge in a safe and efficient condition for use by the public. Upon the initial inspection of the bridge by the commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the municipality shall deposit in the fund an amount equal to the estimate of the commissioner for the costs of the initial improvements to the bridge made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. Upon completion of the initial improvements, the municipality shall maintain an adequate balance of moneys in the fund sufficient to maintain the bridge annually, as determined by the commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.