BY LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — JAY — Stickney Bridge in Jay was closed Thursday after a state inspection found structural deficiencies that made it unsafe for traffic.
Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the span on Stickney Bridge Road was red-flagged by a State Department of Transportation engineer during an inspection, and a detour has been set up.
Essex County Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne made the decision to close the county-owned bridge after seeing the DOT report.
“Due to a New York State Level II inspection (Thursday) of the Stickney Bridge and the flaws found with the bridge, it was deemed unsafe and closed,” he said in a release.
“Engineers will be looking at short-term options to get the bridge functional for light traffic, but long-term fixes will be lengthy, for it takes more than two months to receive an order of steel.”
The bridge, located in the hamlet of AuSable Forks, will be repaired or replaced as soon as possible, Douglas said. The Jay Town Council held an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon with local fire and ambulance departments and AuSable Valley Central School officials to discuss the situation.
LaVigne said in the release that he will be speaking to his department’s consulting engineer today to discuss the possibility of allowing light traffic to pass over the bridge but couldn’t make any promises.
The span will likely be replaced with one of galvanized steel, Douglas said, because the bridge’s weathering steel has corroded.
He said he and the Jay Town Council agreed with LaVigne’s order to close it.
“Although we sympathize with any inconvenience this may cause, we stand behind Tony’s decision to close the bridge in order to protect the lives of our residents,” the supervisor said.
“We will continue to keep the public informed ... about the status of repairs or replacement.”
The detour takes vehicles on Sheldrake Road and the Jersey Bridge via Route 9N to get around the closed section of Stickney Bridge Road/County Route 9S. Signage has been placed to alert motorists.
The bridge over the Ausable River has greatly eroded in the last two years, LaVigne said.
“The last (DOT) inspection in August of 2011 showed minimal loss with some deterioration, but over the last two years, the bridge has deteriorated significantly.”
Emergency vehicles will be able to bypass the bridge without major problems, Douglas said.
“There will be no interruption in services, and with the 24-hour service we currently provide, we are already a jump ahead on calls,” AuSable Forks Volunteer Ambulance Chief William Minogue said in the release.
“The closure of the Stickney Bridge will not affect our response time, and with the help of mutual aid, all first responders and emergency personnel will respond to any neighboring community’s calls and emergency situations via alternate routes,” Jay Fire Chief Glenn Williams said.
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