County approves repairs to bridge

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Initial stage of bridge work funded 

 

It will be some time before traffic starts flowing in North Granville again, but following action last Friday by the Washington County Board of Supervisors that day has moved a bit closer.


 The supervisors approved a pair of resolutions dedicating funding to the first stages of work — engineering studies and right-of-way work for the rehabilitation of the North Granville Lower Turnpike Bridge and the replacement of the Truthville Bridge on County Route 12. 

Granville Supervisor Rodger Hurley said the work will complete a loop starting with the Lower Turnpike span, which will be used as a detour during work in Truthville.

“The plan is to rehabilitate the North Granville Bridge and open it up to traffic and then to go to replace the Truthville Bridge and then finish (Lower Turnpike), but not until they complete the final work up at Truthville,” Hurley said.

The resolution said Washington County will be responsible for covering 20 percent of the cost of the projects, a standard provision in a federally aided transportation project. For the Truthville bridge project the preliminary engineering is slated to cost $209,674 and $28,375 for right-of-way work. Preliminary engineering for the North Granville Lower Turnpike Bridge is expected to cost $277,865 for preliminary engineering and $21,164 for right-of-way work.
 

“It’s a multi-step process — this is an important step in the process – I’ll be meeting with Willy Grimmke (Washington County superintendent of public works) and the Glens Falls Transportation Coordinating Council to emphasize the priority that this should have because now this bridge has been closed for years,” Hurley said.

“It certainly would be our expectation that the renovation would be one that would be enduring – this would not be a short-term fix,” Hurley said.

Hurley said he planned to do all he could to keep the structure didn’t get lost in the shuffle of other, larger bridge projects across the state.

“We are continuing discussion to ensure that given the profound infrastructure needs across the state the Granville bridge does bit get lost. The hope is that a firm timetable – which has not been agreed upon – we want to get that and make it as soon as possible,” Hurley said. 

Hurley said he was hopeful the work would begin on the jobs in the spring. “I’m delighted that this passed,” he said.

The Lower Turnpike Bridge spanning the Mettowee River was red-flagged by New York State Department of Transportation, most recently Aug. 11, 2008, after failing an annual inspection and was closed immediately by the county in response.

With the Lower Turnpike Bridge slated to act as a detour while the Truthville Bridge is replaced, Grimmke said at the time what work the bridge would receive would be determined by how much load it was expected to take on when acting in its detour capacity.

Grimmke said a bi-annual inspection revealed corrosion on the steel beams making up the deck of the bridge at the top of the abutments, creating a dangerous situation.

The thorough inspection revealed corrosion not apparent to the naked eye. Inspectors had to crawl up under the bridge to find it, he said.

The bridge has been closed before, Grimmke said, most recently for two years starting in 1998 when it was flagged by the state and the funding could not be spared to make the needed repairs.

This time around repair is more likely and in a timely fashion with the Truthville Bridge scheduled for replacement in this year – although Grimmke said that move would be heavily influenced by county and state budget concerns.

After the red flag the county had 24 hours to take some kind of action, and in this case Grimmke said the only choice was to close the bridge because no repair action could be taken within the allotted window.

The bridge had been scheduled for rehabilitation by 2012, not replacement, due to its historic quality, Grimmke said. 

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