Press-Republican

October 27, 2013

Essex County to alter bridge plan

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County discovered it has three more bridges on the danger list that must be replaced or repaired.

H. Weight Bridge in Crown Point, Molly Nye Bridge in Keene and Lord Howe Street Bridge in Ticonderoga were red-flagged as potentially dangerous by a recent State Department of Transportation inspection.

All had significant deterioration of their metal structures since the last inspection.

Essex County previously issued a $4.34 million bridge bond to repair its bad bridges, Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said.

“I am requesting modifications to the bridge bond and bridge plan,” he told the County DPW Committee this week. “This will free up enough funds to construct the three red-flagged bridges.”

‘SHUFFLING’

LaVigne said Molly Nye Bridge is especially problematic because it’s on a dead-end road.

He said he will delay work on some low-priority bridges so the three new ones can be addressed.

“We should actually come back and ask for more money in the (bridge) bond, but given the work schedule, this is the best way,” County Manager Daniel Palmer said.

LaVigne said he doesn’t have enough staff for more projects anyway and is trying to stay within the bond amount.

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said he doesn’t like continually amending the bridge repair schedule.

“This is the second time we’ve had to make changes to the bridge bond. We just keep shuffling back and forth. The intent was to get these bridges done and get them out of the way.”

TWO MORE VOTES

The original bond covered seven bridges in various towns. Many were damaged by flooding from tropical storms in 2011.

Bridge inspections are done every two years, and Scozzafava asked if all bridges could be inspected at the same time.

LaVigne said he has 133 spans to maintain on county roads.

“It would take a couple years anyway,” he said. “I’m not sure it (annual checks) would do much. Bridges deteriorate at different times and rates.”

The DPW Committee approved the changes to the bond; it gets another vote at Ways and Means Oct. 28 and a final vote Nov. 4.

Once the three bridges are added, they can go to bid for design and replacement, LaVigne said.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com