Bridge project red tape breaks loose
Granville officials say they now hope to have a Rail Trail Bridge in place before Christmas after final contract approvals recently came from New York state.
Mayor Jay Niles said he found out something had changed last week when representatives from the company hired to install the bridge, County Rail and Bridge, contacted him about meeting. “It’s very good news,” Niles said.
The representatives said they planned to come to Granville to determine what needed to be done at the site in preparation for the bridge’s arrival. Knowing the contract had to be signed for the company to proceed, Niles began to make calls.
“When Jason called me back and said, ‘You have a bridge,’ that felt pretty good,” Niles said.
New York State Department of Parks and Recreation engineer Jason Penge said he looked to a state Web site when Niles called seeking information about the bridge project.
“They’ve been looking forward to this as well as they made a major commitment to us,” Niles said.
The plan was to have most of the village’s portion of the Rail Trail work done before the bridge arrives. County Rail and Bridge is responsible for site preparation at either end of the bridge including the lead up to the bridge off Morrison Avenue. “They’re aware that we’re ready to proceed,” Niles said.
The contract waited at the state budget office for some time. Niles said when he heard about the delay he began making calls to the offices of state Rep. Tony Jordan and state Sen. Betty Little seeking their help in drawing attention to the need for the signatures. After being signed the contract passed on to the Attorney General’s Office where it was signed Oct. 7 passing through the comptroller’s office Oct. 13.
Niles said Penge will meet with the bridge company and the contractor to coordinate the next steps.
The village had been given a six- to eight-week timeframe for the production of the bridge, but Niles added it had always been a “worst case” scenario and he hopes to see it completed in less time. “We’re hoping that six to eight weeks is (high),” Niles said.
On Friday morning Don May from County Rail and Bridge met with Niles and a department of public works representative to examine the site.
The bridge will arrive in three sections and be assembled on site; afterward it will be swung into place in one piece. May said the move could be completed in almost any weather regardless of previous snow or cold temperatures with the exception being high winds.
The replacement of the Trestle Bridge was delayed when the contractor for the job failed to come to the site with the proper equipment.
Although workers managed to get the job done within time allotted, the delay waiting for the removal was long enough that funding for the removal of the old span was kept in the state budget. But the funding for the new construction was taken out, leaving the Rail Trail with a gaping hole between the banks of the Mettowee River.
Had that funding been left in, Niles said, the bridge could have been completed about this time one year ago.
In other Rail Trail developments, an area organization has contributed to Granville’s effort with a grant.
Granville town officials announced their receipt of a $30,800 grant from the Adirondack Glens Falls Transportation Council in early October.
The grant money will be added to a local match of $7,700 to improve and help to open the trail from Depot Street in Middle Granville to the northern boundary of the village. Town officials said the work will include grading the trail surface and widening the area as well as providing signage for access, parking and safety. The town will provide its portion of the funding through work by the town highway department.