BY LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers will soon vote on whether to offer a $4.34 million bond to replace and repair banged-up bridges in seven towns.
County Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said floods from 2011 tropical storms that hit the county damaged bridges and put him behind on regular bridge maintenance and replacement.
“The damage delayed our five-year bridge-replacement program one and one-half to two years,” LaVigne told the County Board of Supervisors.
“We were unable to replace or repair scheduled bridges before red structural flags were issued by New York state.”
LaVigne said the red-flagged bridges will need attention this year.
The bridges slated for replacement are: Rolling Mill Bridge, Jay, $1.2 million, red-flagged; Stanton Bridge in Elizabethtown, $1 million; Bartlet Road Bridge in Keene, $400,000; Furnace Bridge in Elizabethtown and Westport, $400,000; and Algonquin Bridge in North Elba, $500,000.
Bridges that need repairs are: Martin’s Bridge, Schroon, $300,000, red-flagged; and Cemetery Bridge, Keene, $150,000.
“(This) will help keep the highway system functional and safe,” LaVigne said. “This is really a rough estimate of how much I need. The number has a fair amount of contingency.”
He said that without the bond, he’d have to use money from the State Comprehensive Highway Improvement Program, called CHIPs, to replace the red-flagged spans.
“This would diminish the highway-maintenance program, resulting in insufficient funds to address the (annual) minimum 30 miles of highway necessary to stay ahead of the highway deterioration curve.”
PAYING BACK BONDS
County Manager Daniel Palmer said the payback period for the bond has not been determined yet, but will be 10 to 30 years.
The county has a previous bridge bond for $6.6 million from 2009, with a 10-year life and $820,000-a-year payments.
“Every bridge is built to have a 70-year life expectancy,” LaVigne said. “They (new bridges) will easily outlive the life of the bond.”
The county will have preliminary vote on the bond at its Ways and Means session next Monday and a final vote March 4.
Email Lohr McKinstry: firstname.lastname@example.org