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Local News

May 18, 2014

Franklin County flags Wawbeek Bridge

MALONE — A Harrietstown bridge red flagged by the state will be shut down Monday by the Franklin County Highway Department for repairs.

It will be reopened Friday.

The Wawbeek Road bridge on County Road 45 was singled out as in need of immediate action by the state Department of Transportation.

County Highway Superintendent Jonathan Hutchins told legislators Thursday that his team will temporarily fix the problems then complete the permanent renovation in July.

The bridge will be closed about 2½ weeks then as girders are put in place.

In answering a concern raised by Legislator Barbara Rice (D-Saranac Lake), Hutchins said the temporary repairs will be complete by the time seasonal property owners and visitors arrive to the area for the Memorial Day weekend.

He said it will take about $50,000 to $60,000 to complete the work.

Traffic will be rerouted to Route 3 and Route 30 until the project is done.

GIRDERS BUCKLING

The DOT report states the steel-deck span, built in 1960, “has serious corrosion” that has rusted through to create holes, and it is worse on the ends where the last 5 feet of girder “have begun to buckle.”

One photo Hutchins brought along shows the girder separated from the concrete by a few inches.

He said his work crews will use girders from previous bridge work to fashion replacement pieces for the Wawbeek project “just like we did for Johnson Road” in the Town of Malone near Titus Mountain Family Ski Center.

When the decking of that bridge was replaced, there were still usable parts that went to a project in the Town of Franklin.

Hutchins’s employees will determine the girder sizes needed for the Wawbeek, prime and paint them and have them ready to place once the road is closed in July.

“We’ll pre-fab it, wall it in and deck it,” he said of the bridge.

And because the work is being done in-house with existing usable parts, it will be cheaper for the county to meet the DOT repair requirements, he said.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@presrepublican.com

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