RAY BROOK — Access to Essex Chain Lake resources would rebuild a crossing over the Cedar River in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness.
Three sites and two design options have been proposed for the Cedar River bridge, a prospect that drew caution from environmental groups during Adirondack Park Agency review.
Plans for both a wooden bridge and a steel bridge are considered in the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Unit Management Plan.
The preferred version is a wooden camelback truss span made of glue-laminated Douglas fir.
It comes as a kit that costs $353,500.
The preferred location, according to DEC, is a site east of the original bridge site in what is now the Hudson Gorge Wilderness, located between North Creek and Indian Lake. The original bridge washed away in the 1960s.
But land-use designation would have to change at the preferred site.
“Because of the Wilderness classification, a reclassification to Wild Forest would be necessary before any motor vehicles could be used for the construction of the bridge," DEC spelled out in its unit plan.
"The river is approximately 120 feet wide at this location and would require a 160-foot bridge to span the river.
"This location is relatively narrow and out of any wetland areas. It has higher banks than any other spot in the immediate area.
"This location also has the benefit of the approaches being above the flood plain. The site is fairly close to existing old woods roads and would require the construction of approximately 1,050 feet of new access trail to reach the bridge site.”
DEC also offers a steel-bridge design in the Essex Chain Unit plan. It has a lower profile than the wooden bridge, according to the proposal.
It also comes pre-fabricated as a kit, costing $329,000.
The steel bridges comes in three pieces, DEC's plan says, "and the 80,000-pound overall assembled structure can be set with a large crane in a matter of a few days."
The bridge structure measures about 8 feet 8 inches high and is open on the top.
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