MORIAH — The new Moriah Center Bridge could be open as soon as this weekend.
The span carries 5,000 cars a day — more traffic than any other in Essex County. It has been under construction since September 2013.
County Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said cold weather delayed the project.
“They’re putting in gravel now,” he said Wednesday. “It won’t be paved, but it will be open.”
The Moriah Center Bridge passes over Mill Brook, and the original span was built in 1920.
Its main problem was deterioration of the steel girders that supported the wooden deck.
A temporary bridge from Mabey Inc. of Elkridge, Md., was installed next to the old bridge, which was then removed so the new edifice could be built by low-bidder Luck Brothers of Plattsburgh.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.3 million, with 80 percent paid for by the Federal Highway Administration and 15 percent by the state. A bridge bond will be used for the county’s 5 percent share.
LaVigne said extreme cold weather delayed the project.
“They couldn’t work Monday; it was too cold. They’re a week or two behind schedule because of the cold.”
FINISH IN SPRING
Luck Brothers crews swarmed over the bridge site Wednesday, some wearing face protection from the below-zero temperatures in the area.
A fleet of dump trucks filled with dirt and gravel were making trips to the site and dumping their loads, which a power shovel then moved into place at the bridge.
LaVigne said the construction crew will probably break for the winter after opening the bridge, then return in the spring to pave it and finish the work.
The bridge, located on Plank Road (County Route 7) in Moriah, was red-flagged by a State Department of Transportation inspection in August 2012, and its weight limit was reduced to 5 tons.
A red-flag designation by the DOT is a structural marker used to report the failure or potential failure of a primary structural component of a bridge.
The bridge was damaged by flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
On Wednesday, the County Board of Supervisors Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved work on another ailing span, the H. Weight Bridge in Crown Point.
Town and County Bridge and Rail did underwater concrete repairs costing $16,745 to remove red-flag status from the H. Weight Bridge.
The payment gets a final vote at the board’s regular session, Thursday, Feb. 6.
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