The Otis Bridge makes its way through Elizabethtown Feb. 7, heading toward the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport. The bridge was removed from Otis Lane in New Russia two days prior and moved to the Essex County Public Safety Building before being transported to the fairgrounds.
As the Essex County Department of Public Works continues to deal with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, Commissioner Anthony LaVigne told members of the DPW Committee Feb. 13 that more funding was needed to fix bridges.
The committee moved a resolution to bond for up to $4,345,000 for bridge construction. LaVigne said that the funding would help the county catch up on its five-year plan, which was turned on its side after recent natural disasters.
“The funding is for an additional seven bridges,” LaVigne said. “We try to anticipate how much the project is going to cost through all phases. This is really a rough estimate of what I am going to need but I do know that these bridges have to be addressed soon.”
LaVigne said that with the department falling behind schedule, they have received three red flags on bridges that they were not anticipating. He added that funding through bonding allowed the county to use its CHIPs funding for roadway repairs.
“CHIPs funding has stayed at the same level while costs continue to go up,” he said.
Currently, the county is working on the replacement of the Otis Lane Bridge.
“The new bridge steel is being installed and the work was accomplished with both county and contracted personnel,” he said.
LaVigne also said that the county will be working on the Adirondack Loj Road Bridge in the spring.
“A temporary bridge will be installed sometime in the spring with the construction on a replacement bridge starting soon thereafter.”
LaVigne removed a resolution requesting a maintenance helper position be filled because he wanted to give county manager Daniel Palmer a chance to look over the request and make a recommendation. Under new county guidelines, all positions that become vacant need county board approval in order to be filled.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava asked if they should fill the position with a more experienced worker.
“I think we need to try and find people that can do the carpentry and do the electrical and plumbing,” Scozzafava said. “Some of these jobs I think that we can do in house. I think that it would make more sense to go with a maintenance mechanic rather than a maintenance helper.”
“It will cost more money for that position but it could save more money over time because you would not have to then farm those services out,” Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said.
The committee also moved a resolution to spend up to $7,500 to look into heating system problems at the county jail.
“There are valves that are freezing, The heat boilers are not firing properly,” LaVigne said. “The pressures are not proper in the system itself. The indication that we get is that this system was designed for a much warmer climate. We have exhausted our ability to troubleshoot it and we need to look for a more experienced evaluation.”
LaVigne said that he had preliminary discussions with AES on the issue.
“AES feels that they have found some items that could cure the problem, help us fix our delivery system and help us realize some savings in our propane system,” he said.
“AES is pretty professional and they have been pretty accurate on all of the other projects that we have contracted with them for,” Palmer added.