BY LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Replacement of the ailing Moriah Center Bridge is expected to get under way very soon.
The Essex County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved payments for temporary easements for the detour around the span on County Route 7.
The $40,400 in easements for a temporary Mabey bridge was passed at a special meeting last week, then came up again Monday for further discussion.
The Moriah Center Bridge, a major span built in 1920 that gets about 5,000 cars a day, passes over Mill Brook. Its main problem is deterioration of the steel girders that support the wooden deck.
The 40-foot-long temporary bridge, at an estimated $70,000, will be installed next to the existing bridge and will support trucks and school buses.
The new Moriah Center Bridge is expected to cost about $1.7 million, with 80 percent from the federal Highway and Bridge Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project, 15 percent from the state and 5 percent from Essex County.
“Cost is 95 percent reimbursable, (and) cost to the county is $220,000 from budgeted funds,” County Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said at Monday’s meeting.
The easements are $35,500 to Apex Mortgage Co. and $4,900 to adjoining property owners Norman and Molly Westover. Apex has the former Mill Brook Diner property next to the bridge.
Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said the county will own the diner at the end of the project because part of the new bridge will sit on that property, so the $35,500 will cover more than an easement.
“That’s actually (for) the diner. They (engineers) have to change the bridge alignment.”
A professional appraiser generated the amounts they’re paying, County Attorney Daniel Manning III said.
“That’s the amount that’s owed on the (diner) building,” Scozzafava said. “They (Apex) said they have to do it by easement.”
One supervisor said he wondered why the prices were so high.
“If we pay $40,000 for an easement, we should have more of an explanation,” Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon) said.
LaVigne said he would get more information for supervisors.
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