This bridge carries traffic over the Saranac River along Route 22B. New York state plans to replace it due to deterioration.
MORRISONVILLE — A plan to replace a deteriorating bridge is moving ahead.
New York State wants to replace a well-traveled bridge that carries people over the Saranac River and is located where the towns of Schuyler Falls and Plattsburgh meet.
The Route 22B bridge in the hamlet of Morrisonville has eroded and the state would be forced to eventually close it if it is not replaced, engineers say.
“It’s moving ahead,” said Michael Flick, New York State Department of Transportation.
The state expects to spend roughly $9 million on the project.
“We are at the point in the project where we are still examining some alternatives,” Flick said.
Residents living nearby the bridge say the work is long overdue.
“Stand by the bridge and watch the big trucks go by,” said Frank Davis, owner of Red Barn Auto, 1959 Route 22B. “You can hear the thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.”
But Davis is worried about the toll construction will take on his business.
“Hopefully they will get the bridge done, and I won’t lose my business,” he said. “It has to be done.”
New York state must acquire private property to construct the new bridge, and some people could lose as much as 3 feet on each side of the new construction.
But engineers say the underside and the deck of the existing bridge is deteriorating in several areas. Plus, steel trusses, connecting plates and horizontal cross bracing is corroding.
The bridge has also been the scene of several accidents over the years involving vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, according to a state analysis. There are safety concerns pertaining to the bridge approaches.
The bridge replacement and highway improvement project would begin between the intersections of Emory and Mason streets, along Route 22B in the Town of Schuyler Falls and extend easterly to the intersection of Route 22B and Bushey Street in the Town of Plattsburgh.
The state plans to reconstruct 0.2 miles of Route 22B, including the intersections of Mason Street, Rand Hill Road and Bushey Street.
It would replace the current bridge with a new truss-type structure with two 11-foot-wide travel lanes, 8-foot-wide shoulders and a 5-foot-6-inch-wide sidewalk on both sides.
The new, single-span structure would be roughly 170 feet long.
New curb and sidewalk would be built on both sides of the roadway, while Rand Hill Road would be slightly realigned for safety.
Drainage would be improved, waterlines and utilities replaced and new guide rails installed.
New York state considered alternatives, including continued maintenance and structure rehabilitation, but they were deemed costly and inadequate. Maintaining the current bridge would result in its eventual closure in the future.
None of the alternatives were pursued.
“We are looking to do it for replacement instead of rehabilitation,” Flick said.
The draft-design report is complete and has been sent to the main office for approval. Once approved, the $9-million project goes to the final-design phase and then out the door for construction.
“We are looking to start spring 2014 and be done by summer or fall,” Flick said. “This will be a one-season project.”