By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — NEW RUSSIA — The long-delayed replacement of Otis Bridge is finally under way.
The one-lane bridge in Elizabethtown’s New Russia hamlet serves about six summer camps and 800 acres of timberland.
It has been on the replacement list at the Essex County Department of Public Works since 2005.
Installation of a modern span had been delayed while the county did a full State Environmental Quality Review for the project. When that was completed, with no negative impact found, permits were issued by various agencies with jurisdiction, and construction bids were sought.
COMPANY STARTS JOB
The low bidder was Luck Brothers Construction of Plattsburgh at $123,300.
“The contractor will construct the new abutments, and the new bridge span and access road will be constructed by county forces,” County Highway Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said. “A pre-construction meeting was held, and the contractor has begun work.”
The county had previously estimated total costs at about $250,000.
The old 1914 bridge will be relocated to the Essex County fairgrounds in Westport and put on display as a footbridge.
The new bridge had been requested by owners of the woodlands tract on the other side of the Boquet River so log trucks could use the bridge, which previously had a 3-ton weight limit.
The new bridge will have a 40-ton limit.
‘ALL WELL SERVED’
The county worked out a compromise with adjourning property owners Harry Gough and Margaret Bartley, since the road that serves the bridge passed close to their residence. The couple successfully sued the county because a full state environmental statement had not initially been done for the project.
An agreement was devised that had them donate land to relocate Otis Lane from their side yard.
Gough said he was pleased that Essex County and his family had been able to find an equitable solution to the Otis Bridge issue.
“We always believed that a solution was possible once all parties were willing to talk. Our family gave Essex County the land necessary to install a realigned road that will be able to accommodate all traffic. We trust that all those involved in this issue will now be well served.”
The existing access road will now be abandoned, and a new road will go in, County Attorney Daniel Manning III said.
“Additional work also includes the relocation of Otis Lane, and the road will be constructed approximately 150 feet to the north of the existing road, and then existing Otis Lane will be abandoned.”
LaVigne said the prefabricated deck for the new bridge is at the DPW shop in Lewis and will be moved to the site once Luck Brothers completes the new abutments.
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