Seven bridges in the town of Keene will be replaced under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan.
A total of 14 bridges in Essex and Clinton counties will be replaced in an effort to shore up infrastructure in the wake of extreme weather.
In a press conference attended by Vice President Joe Biden and local leaders Randy Douglas of Jay and Bill Ferebee of Keene (who serve as the Essex County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively), New York State Andrew Cuomo announced an investment of $486 million to replace a total of 100 at-risk bridges not designed to withstand the new reality of extreme weather. The state will seek to use federal funds to replace or retrofit these bridges to ensure that they are fully protected against future threats.
“The new reality in New York is we are getting hit by 100 year storms every couple of years,” Cuomo said. “We have to wake up to that new reality by completely reimagining our state to be ready for any future disaster. Our plan completely transforms the way we build and protect our infrastructure. I want to thank Vice President Biden for being here today to support our efforts to reimagine New York and for supporting our state throughout the Sandy recovery process.”
“I think you rebuilding New York, reimagining a future is exactly what we have to do in this country,” Biden said. “You’re not just leading in New York, you’re leading the country and I think a lot of governors and a lot of folks can learn an awful lot from what they see and what you do here.”
“It was an honor to be invited today for this meeting and announcement,” Douglas said. “We in the towns of Jay and Keene, and all of Essex County are very thankful for the support we have received from the state and federal government as we continue to rebuild from the effects of Hurricane Irene. We are able to build a bigger and stronger public infrastructure because of the funding we have received and continue to receive from the State and Federal Government.”
Seven of the bridges to be replaced are located in Keene along Route 73. They include bridges over Johns Brook, the Johns Brook overflow, the Cascade Lake Outlet, two spanning Beede Brook and two overpassing the East Branch of the Ausable River.
The Cascade Lake bridge was built in 1927, while one of the Beede Brook overpasses was constructed in 1935. The other six spans were put in place in 1936. The bridges average between 3,000 and 3,300 vehicles traveling over them per day. They range in length from 21 two 126 feet.
A pair of bridges fall within the town of North Elba, both spanning the West Branch of the Ausable River. Each was built in 1932 and has an average of 3,400 vehicles pass each day. They are 113 and 64 feet in length.
A third bridge, a 108-foot span over the West Branch in Jay is also scheduled for replacement. It was built in 1931 and averages 2,650 vehicles per day.
Four bridges will be replaced along the Northway in Clinton County, including the north- and south-bound lanes over the Little Ausable River in the town of Ausable and the north- and south-bound lanes over the Salmon River in the town of Plattsburgh.
The pair of 120-feet long spans over the Little Ausable were constructed in 1961 and average 7,100 vehicles per day. The two 154-feet long spans over the Salmon River were built in 1960 and also average 7,100 vehicles per day.
According to Douglas, work could be started this year.
“I did speak with NYS DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald about time frames after the State of the State,” he said. “The dates are yet to be definitely determined. However, it looks like 2014 and 2015 to me. It is great news.”