Essex County Board of Supervisors
The new Moriah Center Bridge is open to traffic, Department of Public Works chief Anthony LaVigne said in his report to the DPW committee Feb. 12, and the project will go into winter shutdown until weather conditions permit construction to restart.
The bridge needs to be paved and guardrails have yet to be installed.
The design of Grove Road Bridge in Jay is near completion and final plans are expected to be received for review and bid this month.
Other bridges in design include Elk Drive and Lord Howe Street Bridge (Ticonderoga), H. Weight Bridge (Crown Point), Dr. Ray Bridge, Cemetery Bridge and St. Hubert’s Bridge (Keene), Lobdell Bridge (Elizabethtown), Sprague Hill Bridge (Moriah) and Pepper Hollow in North Hudson.
The large number stems from Hurricane Irene in August, 2011. The county lost 12 bridges, said LaVigne, and 28 others were “significantly” damaged.
LaVigne said the DPW normally replaces two per year as a result of annual deterioration.
Construction on Stickney Bridge in Jay is scheduled to start on March 4. The bridge will be closed for two months while the deck is replaced.
LaVigne also filled in lawmakers on a power outage in Lewis on Jan. 22 that affected the county prison.
The prison has a generator with automatic switches, he explained. Issues arose with the mechanism that switches from municipal power to the power generated on the prison’s generator.
As a troubleshooting measure, NYSEG came in with the manufacturer to simulate a power failure.
“They observed what happens during power failures and downloaded that info onto a computer — like a black box,” said LaVigne. “They will study that information to determine the exact issue.”
LaVigne also told lawmakers that CHIPS funds — state aid for highway improvement — had been included in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget at the 2013 increased level, a level that will remain static until the end of the state fiscal year 2015.
“These funds make up the lion’s share of our maintenance and construction money,” he said, referring to the CHIPs contributions. “It’s been a fight to get them into the budget. But the governor has included them in this year for the first time in about eight years, which is a good sign.”
LaVigne said last year’s increase was a great help and the county really appreciates it.
He told the board that Advocacy Day, the two-day event in Albany for local officials to lobby their counterparts at the state level, is slated for March 4-5. LaVigne encouraged lawmakers to attend and advocate, among other local issues, to keep the CHIPS funds both in the budget and tied to inflation.
LaVigne is set to retire in May. A replacement has yet to be decided.