Press-Republican

Local News

June 7, 2008

Historic Mill Hill Bridge closed

'I've never seen a bridge of that particular style"

CHESTERFIELD -- The historic Mill Hill Bridge here had to be closed to traffic for safety reasons and needs rehabilitation.

The cost to repair the aging span to a 10-ton weight limit would be $2.1 million, Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said.

He said the Essex County Planning Department is applying for a State Transportation Enhancement Program grant for $2.1 million to rehabilitate the Mill Hill Bridge, also known as the Upper Bridge.

It is hoped that most of the 20-percent county share would be paid from about $300,000 in historic grant funds and Marchiselli Program money from the state, he said, leaving $100,000 to be split between Essex and Clinton counties.

"Hopefully, half of that match would come from Clinton County," Morrow said. "I hope we all still support this and get this process moving."

The bridge sits on the county line, Morrow said, and is located south of the Keeseville village center.

"We got a letter from Clinton County saying they didn't want to put any money into that bridge. I guess they have constraints."

He hopes Clinton County will at least pay half the matching share to fix the bridge.

Morrow said the cost was initially estimated to be $1 million.

"The engineer that is working pro bono to do the budget for this grant application called me to tell me he had to add 20-percent contingency, and he had to add in the cost of inflation for the next three years through 2011, because this might not be done until then, and also a full-time construction manager to be on site. It (the budget) would be increased to $2.1 million."

"That is a very historic bridge," Supervisor Ronald Jackson (R-Essex) said. "I've never see a bridge of that particular style."

The Murray, Dougal Bridge Co. of Milton, Pa., built the two-span wrought-iron Pratt truss bridge, also referred to as the "Upper Bridge," over the AuSable River in 1878. The only similar bridge in existence is in Bucks County, Pa.

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