T he village board took the first steps Monday toward limiting traffic on the Church Street Bridge.
Officials placed a 10-ton weight limit on the bridge and will prohibit tractor trailers from using the span. The restrictions will be effective beginning on Monday, Aug. 25.
Village and county officials have been trying to determine what to do about the bridge for the past two months.
The concrete bridge, which was constructed in the 1920s, has not been rehabbed since the 1980s. Since that time, the concrete has begun to deteriorate and the deck has begun to sag in parts. The bridge has been deemed insufficient by engineers.
The structure had been included under the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a federal program overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration that provides funding to repair infrastructure. The Truthville Bridge on County Route 12 was a TIP’s project. However, the program was recently suspended until 2018.
Supervisor Matt Hicks said last month the estimated cost of replacing the bridge was tabbed at approximately $4 million. TIPs would have covered 75 percent of that figure with the state picking up 20 percent and Washington County paying for the remaining 5 percent (all bridges longer than 20 feet are overseen and managed by the county).
The county has more than $150,000 set aside to replace the bridge, but without the TIP money would not be able to complete the project. Hicks said it’s possible the county could use that money to rehab the bridge, which would put off the need of replacing the span for several years, at which point federal funds may be available. But a decision on whether the county will indeed repair the bridge has not been made and it was recommended that traffic over the span be limited.
Officials are hopeful that by imposing a weight limit on the bridge, they can prolong its life.
A weight limit of 10 tons would allow most traffic to use the bridge but semi-trucks looking to access local businesses, such as Saint Gobain or Telescope would need to be detoured, most likely down Main Street onto Quaker Street and then onto Route 22.
Deputy village clerk Denise Roberts said semi-trucks would be restricted from using Potter Avenue and its likely officials would restrict trucks from using Morrison Avenue, which likely wouldn’t be wide enough to allow large trucks to navigate around parked cars and other traffic.
Roberts said officials have or will reach out to local businesses, such as Telescope, Saint Gobain and Price Chopper, and inform them of the weight limit and the need for drivers to select a different route.
The village will also have signage posted at the intersection of Main and Church streets and Potter Avenue and Church Street. There is also expected to be an increased police presence after the limit is put into place.
In other matters the board debated the merits of issuing certificates of insurance to local recreational organizations.
The request in question revolved around a 7-on-7 football league that has been played at the Granville High School football field. The Granville Central School District requires that any public organization seeking to use its playing fields, such as the Granville Men’s Softball League or the local Youth Soccer Program, receive a certificate of insurance from the village.
Trustee Frank Caruso, however, questioned the practice, expressing concern about the degree to which the village is liable.
Village attorney Mike Martin said it was belief that most leagues operate under an “assumption of risk” and that the village has little to no liability. He said, to his knowledge, there has never been a claim made against the village.
Officials, however, asked Martin to seek an opinion from New York state on the matter and to spell out in writing what liability, if any, the village has.
The board voted to approve the request from the football league. Caruso and fellow trustee Dean Hyatt voted against it.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 1.